All through the Thanksgiving holiday, I felt barraged by the blaring noise and glaring light of the ads for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Black Friday started at midnight sharp, giving people little time to digest their turkey before entering into the fray for toys and appliances. I felt as if the whole message of Thanksgiving—gratitude—had become lost, and that the messages of the winter holidays—hope, love, peace, freedom—are even more at risk.
One thing I love about the celebrations of this season, whether Christian, Jewish, or pagan, is their quiet and meditative spirit. Yes, there is joy and singing and good food. But each tells a story of a light that breaks the darkness—small at first, but growing, with each night of Hanukah, with each step closer of the wise men and shepherds to the stable, with each day growing a little longer as the earth tilts toward spring. The darkness allows for these lights to shine, and for the sacred hush that surrounds them. It forces us to focus on what can so easily get lost in the harsh brightness and activity of the day.
I love the fun activities of singing, baking, gift-giving and decorating. But I try not to lose sight of the season’s stories with their sacred hush, their spirit of peace, hope, freedom, and joy embodied in candles and stars, in birth and new life, in Love made flesh.
In faith, Ellen