As you know, the holidays are traditionally a time to get together with family and friends. It is a time to relax, have a good time, share gifts and stories with others. But that’s not all.
Humans have celebrated the winter holidays possibly forever. The time is obviously near the solstice and the longest reign of night, at least in the Northern hemisphere where I live. For us northerners, it is the darkest and coldest time. It was traditionally a time to engage in rituals to assure that the sun will come again, that spring will follow winter, renewal follow hibernation, warmth follow cold.
Many holidays have this sacred dimension or shadow that connects us to a depth of history. This history is not just about days of religious significance. These holidays provide workers a break from intense labor. They signify recognition of shared humanity, however dim that recognition often was in the past and might be so today. Every one of us needs time to rest and connect with others. Every one of us needs time to step back, contemplate why we are here on this earth, to renew our selves and relationships with fellow humans and the earth that sustains us. The fact that we have days of rest is beyond a right; it is a sacred necessity. Humans fought for a five-day workweek, for example, against other humans who would oppress them, and were successful.
So this year, everything is both normal, like always, and yet totally different from any other time. Never have Americans had a President who has threatened so many of our values and institutions and who brings with him such frightening unknowns. Yet, day follows night. We wake from sleep. Many things continue as they have.
Much is changing; much is staying relatively the same. It is time to determine exactly what, on the level of our daily life, might benefit from a change. For many of us, it might be finding ways we can integrate opposing the President and his cabinet into our daily lives. Or there might be local issues that drive us, or working on our own understanding of history or mind. This time of ritually facing the darkest time of year might remind us that in some ways, this is what nature calls to us to do, to face the darkness so the light will come again.
Have a great holiday and New Year. Renew, enjoy, and celebrate with friends and family. It is something we all need and deserve. It is something we all share, and a reminder that what we need can be fought for and won.
**This is an update of an older post.