As much as I enjoy the giving and getting of presents and watching "feel good" Christmas movies, that's not at all what this season is about for me.
As far back as I can remember, the true magic lies in stars and wise men willing to follow them, simple shepherds experiencing the unimaginable and the most humble birth of a child. The fact they are woven through with older religions gifting us traditions like Yule logs, Christmas trees, mistletoe only adds to the magic and wonder of it all. For anyone with northern ancestors, across Europe and Asia, this is the season of darkness that will be rebirthed into light.
Every year, even as a child, I like to take some time to be quiet and feel that deeper meaning. I'll turn off the lights and sit by the Christmas tree (under it when I was little!), sit with a candle or stand in my bedroom and look out at the stars. Joy is great, fun too, but for me there has to be the counterbalance of stillness. A moment when the noise and frantic bustle of the season fades away, and I find myself in the light again.
This has become even more important as the years have passed. In part because modern advertising is more and more aggressively based in consumerism rather than caring, demanding we spend and SEE THIS SALE. But in larger part I need that quiet moment because the longer you live on Earth, the more empty chairs you have at your table.
In December 2017, we lost my dad and that has taken a huge part of the joy out of this holiday for me and my family, but he is only one empty chair of many. I'm not unique or alone in having those empty chairs. Every single person I know has at least one. This particular year, I have two dear friends who have lost parents this December and another who is waiting for that inevitable farewell with her mom.
Sometimes, the only way you can rekindle your light is to take time to sit with your darkness.
Try it. Find a quiet moment or place and sit with the dark. You can choose your own variation, but sitting in an empty room with a Christmas tree or by a window looking at the stars are my favourites. The dark isn't the enemy or something to be feared. The dark is completely non-judgemental. Let it wrap itself around you like a mother's loving arms; it will hold you gently. Just be with it and let all the noise go, including the voice in your head with its list of things you should be doing or should have done. Let it all go...
... and look for the light.
Even if it's only a tiny star or one candle; it's there, and it has always been there. The light that is life and love. It is the very core of everything, including you and everyone you love, have loved or will love. So, this year I'm wishing you find your light in the darkness, but also find the way to let the dark embrace you. They need each other as much as we need them both. And wherever you are... may the light of love find you and always guide you home.