Such a deep, dark time of year. It’s hard to believe that the days (since Thursday) have already begun lengthening ever so slightly, a minute or so each day.
From the seasons’ turning, we know that an extended darkness doesn’t spell the end of everything. It’s just a cycle. And we ourselves have the agency to find and nurture the light.
On Wednesday night a Solstice fire gave us a chance to turn within. The flames reduced our scribbled papers and sage sprigs to ash as we released ourselves from the weight of the previous year.
Tonight my Jewish friends light the Menorah for the first day of Hanukkah. Meanwhile many Christian folks will go to church for a traditional Christmas Eve candlelight service.
Tomorrow, Christmas Day, we ourselves will celebrate with turkey and dressing shared around our table, and some modest gift-giving afterwards. The lights in our front windows will stay on all day and into the evening, a symbol of welcome.
These traditions call on our highest selves to be kind, to be intentional, to be generous, to be grateful.
Light of the World, Shine on Me, the song says.
I suggest a small change. Shine IN Me. After all, we all carry the seed of Divinity within.
Consider this Facebook post from Jul Bystrova, founder of Era of Care, who just returned home from supporting the water protectors at Standing Rock Indian Reservation:
I find myself often comparing this time to the Lord of the Rings. The darkness grows, destroys and seems impossible to stop. But we do well to remember that we were returned to the light by simple hobbits with tremendous courage. We are those simple hobbits.
Whatever your spiritual tradition: shine on, my friends.