Thursday, December 13, 2007
I'm counting the days...
My favourite day of the season is approaching and no, it's not Christmas Day. It's the Winter Solstice, when the days stop getting shorter and begin to lengthen again.
In the meantime, I'm grateful for Christmas lights which brighten these long, dark nights of December.
Most of our customs, symbols, and rituals associated with Christmas are actually linked to the Winter Solstice celebrations of ancient Pagan cultures, including bringing light to these long nights. (Obviously the Pagans didn't have electric Christmas lights, but that's where the whole idea of lighting the night originally started.) Other customs borrowed from the Pagans include feasting, decorating our homes with greenery and expressing love by exchanging gifts. The actual birth of Jesus was in the fall but December 25th was the day chosen to represent his birth in order to tie it in with the winter solstice rituals that had already been long established. For those uncomfortable with the term 'Christmas celebrations', perhaps calling them 'Solstice' celebrations or even 'Pagan' celebrations would be a good alternative. Whatever we call it, thank goodness for the light and beauty and love that we surround ourselves with at this darkest time of year. Let's all raise a glass and toast the ancient Pagans sometime this season for without this celebration of light to break up the winter it would seem even longer.
Speaking of light, the colourful picture above features Cara, my daughter, dancing as the Sugar Plum Fairy a few years ago. She, and her sisters, are the ongoing 'light' in my life.