Ask children what their favorite season is, and very few will offer, “winter!”. Carefree, long days and growth are dear to most of us, especially the young at heart. Yet, as we grow, the unique gifts of each season become so much more clear…
Fall brings a relief and a shedding of what can no longer stay. Many cultures call it the point of renewal, with grand holidays and rites. Who most embraces winter? Beyond the prominent holidays of Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza, Solstice and New Year’s, what do we actually celebrate about the time itself?
True, for many, the holiday season feels like an excuse to come together and find joy in the dark; a reminder that we are not alone as we turn through the dark days… But what can we find here?
The other day, I heard a child singing, with such enthusiasm and focus, “Hello darkness, my old friend… I’ve come to talk with you again…”. So, maybe we all do rejoice in the chance to be still. Today, there is a stillness that only the depths of winter can bring. It comes like a message to be absolutely quiet. Listen. Watch. Something important is happening, yet unseen.
It carries that rare beauty of a dark time, complex and rich, yet steady - like a wide, vast lake. Reminds me of hummus breaking down on the forest floor. All beings rest. The animals, the plants, us humans. Our dormancy can also be a rich time. We can stop to savor the breaking down of more active times into manageable size. We quietly process all that has flourished.
So, even if most of us, like the kids, never want to go to bed - and want to celebrate abundance all the time… Maybe we can celebrate the true gifts of the season. Like a warm light flickering against a glass candle holder in the dark, our lights become most brilliant when we are in the dark phases. May we rest here peacefully and fruitfully, so that we are truly prepared when spring eventually comes.