Many religions holidays celebrated at this time of the year include lights:
-Catholics light advent candles, counting down the weeks for Christ’s birth.
-Jews put lit menorahs in their windows, honoring the miracle of the oil ages ago.
-Observers of Kwanzaa, a celebration of family, community, and culture, light a seven-pronged candelabra.
-The image of Our Lady of Guadalupe is surrounded by light.
-On St. Lucy’s Day, Christians often process with candles, honoring the story of a young girl who brought light into the midst of darkness.
Why is this? My guess is because we are smack in the middle of dark days. Physically dark. The winter solstice marks the longest, darkest day of the year. Thus, it makes sense that so many religions have holidays around it that call on the healing properties of light. We need light at this time of the year–both physical and metaphorical.
Here in Texas it’s dark in the mornings when I rise. (Okay, I get up really early… but still.) And it’s dark in the evenings when I’m sitting at the table with my family for dinner. A few months ago when I drove my girls home from gymnastics at the end of the night, it was still light out. Now, even as we climb in the car to head there, it’s dark.And this darkness can be a bit hard to take! So many of us suffer during winter. So many of us go through depression. The holidays don’t stack up as wonderfully as we’d like them to. People let us down. We get back grades at the end of the semester (or at least not all the As we hoped for!) We are bummed out by the constant icy conditions on the road; tired of the heavy coats, scarves, and gloves; sick of knowing we didn’t get the perfect present for our loved ones… again. It seems like there is so much to be down about in December.
What I would like to propose is that we all try to combat this darkness. Let’s try to be the light that others need. Won’t you join me?
Please share the light. Spread the message. Together, we can make December a time of light. Share this post!