One more trip around the sun. Tomorrow I celebrate Winter Solstice, the darkest day of the year. I’ll light candles, drink hot chocolate, and play games around a blazing fire.
Winter Solstice symbolizes a movement from darkness into light. We embrace the darkest night, knowing that the very next day begins our journey into longer daylight hours until summer begins. It’s then that we reverse the six-month process, slowly moving back into the cold darkness of winter.
This year, the asymmetry of daylight and dark feels symbolic as our country emits a darkness of spirit in the wake of this past election cycle. Suspicion and hateful rhetoric lingers, and we remain divided.
Friends “unfriend” me. Family members distance themselves; and I retreat, protected by “my clan.” It feels safer to surround myself with like-minded people even when I know this isolation causes tunnel-vision and I only see what is directly in front of me.
My walls. My beliefs. I feel a strong urge to protect them.
Every year I practice a hibernation of spirit marked by the Winter Solstice. I take private time to recognize and honor my beliefs. But I am careful in this retreat, and pause to recognize and honor people and cultures whose beliefs are different from mine.
In the next few weeks, people around the world will celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Los Posados, Eid-al-Adha, and many other winter holidays. We Christians are not alone in our quest to understand and celebrate what is sacred.
When I emerge from my festivities, I’ll see the light has changed. I’ll step outside my clan cave and awake like a bear in springtime, hungry and ready to move. I must commit to that hunger, to the work in front of me. I encourage you to join me and explore this process.
United we stand, divided we fall….deeper into chaos, into bias, into further division if we ignore this work.
“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other.
Knowing a man well never leads to hate and almost always leads to love.” John Steinbeck
For the next two weeks I celebrate and retreat into the sanctity of tradition. It’s there, in my own home true healing begins.
May we lay aside hostility. May we practice radical, unconditional love. May our holidays be filled with joy!