It’s so dark out this time of year; and yet there are so many lights. Beautiful lights, colorful lights, silly ones even. Each place we see them, folks have come out of their homes and taken the time to offer light to their neighbors. I think it’s extraordinary.
I’ve long been fascinated by the work of Joseph Campbell and its powerful demonstrations of just how alike humans are when it comes to myth, religion, and cultural themes. Never is this more apparent than this time of the year when so many traditions unite to celebrate light from darkness.
A light shining in the gloom means hope. It can mean warmth when we are cold, beauty when we cannot see, a port in a storm, or a loved one on the way. It is bulbs on a tree, candles on a cake, beams shining on a beautiful sculpture, a beacon beckoning another to a safe return.
To celebrate light when the sun is low in the sky and short in the day demonstrates just how powerful the human collective can be. We cannot alter nature, but we can dig deep and share the very thing we need most. We are co-creators of light where there is none. Our solstice-time celebrations show just how united we can be in claiming victory over gloom, doubt, and despair.
One of my favorite rituals from childhood is the lighting of candles in a church. The smell of the wick and wax, the plunk of coin dropping in a tin box, the solemn air about it all is just so gorgeous. To see a bank of votive candles, some lit, some waiting, amplifies the intentions. It humbles us to realize we are but one candle-lighter in a collective, but together we shine. It is majestic.
Of all the greetings we can offer each other as we come to the end of this most challenging year, I can think of nothing that moves me as much as a blessing of light in all its tangible and metaphoric forms. No matter where you find your most cherished December lights, in candles, trees, twinkling in the sky, roaring from a warm fireplace, or conjuncting just after sunset, dear friends, soak it in. Light is hope, light is joy, light is love.
In this season as in all, I wish you light.