Halfway Through the Dark
Even living in Florida, I am not a fan of the shortened days preceding and following the Winter Solstice. When I have lived in more northerly climates, it has affected me to such an extent that my depression and despair were very probably that malady assigned the name SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). While we are far enough south that the day length is not effected so drastically, I still hate getting up in the dark, and having it fall again so early in the evenings.
Looking forward to the lengthening days is a good enough reason to celebrate the Solstice, regardless of your feelings about its Pagan origins. This is, after all, the time of year when Saturnalia and other winter festivals traditionally were celebrated and took place, and it is the occasion of the birth of the “Son of Light” in numerous cultures. Ultimately, I have to observe, that while many things change with paradigms, time and societal belief systems , many more remain the same.
No matter what the reason, I am never unaffected by the Solstice. It causes something very deep and spiritual to resonate inside me. Christmas has always been my favorite time of year, though it has often been the saddest also. I have usually reconciled this paradox by throwing myself wholeheartedly into all of the trappings and preparations. Baking cookies and decorating the house are Sacraments in and of themselves. Wrapping and giving gifts to those I love are expressions of my devotion to tradition and family.
The Magic of Christmas is what moves me most though. Since I was a small child, I have always experienced a mystical and reverential interlude somewhere near or on Christmas—in the hush of the early morning hours with only a lighted tree to illuminate the room. During those times, my heart springs wide open, I feel utterly at peace and connected to the entire world. It is not happiness or even contentment I feel, but absolute Joy. It is a feeling both simple, and yet so complex as to be unfathomable. Those moments, however brief and fleeting, and whenever they occur, are my True Christmas.
Whether you keep the Solstice or Christmas (or both 🙂 ), or celebrated Hanukkah or some other December observation — whether your holidays are traditional or not— I wish you many Blessings and much Love in the days to come!