It’s beginning to look a lot like…. Springtime? What an unusual Season we are having! My backyard has green grass. My lemon tree is loaded with buds and awaits honeybees. My children are wearing shorts. It’s quite a different shade of Late December than the norm for our town. I find it exciting. I’ve always wanted to see Christmas in a tropical place with Lights in palm trees. I won’t quite get that far, but it will feel as though I am there. The mystical Winter Solstice is upon us, and yet the much-expected darkest, coldest night of the year will be transformed. Mother Nature is inviting us to see things in a Different Light.
The Winter Solstice marks the Lengthening of Days. Latin for “Sun stands still,” the Solstice of December is the root of our Season of Light, no matter what faith, or lack there of, we choose. The Druids viewed the Solstice as a time of death and rebirth. The death of the Old Sun and birth of the New Sun was believed to give everyone a new purpose, and a new vision. The Ancient Chinese welcome the energy force of yang during the Solstice. They believed that positive things flow stronger after the Solstice. As the days get longer, the energy gets stronger. The newfound strength paves the way for a different perspective. In Ancient Rome the Festival of Saturnalia during the Winter Solstice meant that infighting ceased. They purposefully forgave grudges. They marked the Season of Light as a Season of Reason and Peace. Pre-Christian Scandinavians filled the night sky with a festival of fires, called the Feast of Juul, which later gave rise to our tradition of Yule logs. Beneath a Field of Stars, they honored the time when the “Sun stands Still.”
The confluence of our modern Holiday celebrations and the Winter Solstice is no coincidence. We, too, find ourselves overlooking the negative around us because of the Season. We purposefully and actively choose GOOD, because of the Season. We see in uptick in our works of charity because of the Season. The lights on the tree, reflected in the colorful, shiny wrapping paper underneath, give us an excuse to see things from an enLIGHTened perspective. The energy of the Solstice, coupled with our Faith Traditions, hastens awareness—an awareness of the possibility of Love, Joy, and Peace.
This opportunity of new energy and a fresh perspective is an overlooked gift of the Season of Light. Whatever your belief system may be, we can hold those closest to us in a different Light. We can let the “Sun-standing-Still” bathe them in a glow that reveals different hues of their heart. We can forgive, and move beyond Hurt. We can cease fires of contention. Going through the motions is not enough. We must choose to illuminate the Season with Reason, Purpose, Goodness, and Love. Each person in our lives has a hidden facet waiting for permission to shine in a new Light.
I’ve always been fascinated with those who are able to paint Light. I am drawn to those who see beyond the mundane. Through the years, the work of Vincent Van Gogh has touched my heart profoundly. Seeing his paintings in person moves me to tears. It's a phenomenon I cannot explain. Reading his letters and the reflections of others about his life have allowed me to see that he is so much more than the Madman Myth we’ve been sold. Yes, his world was dark at times, but he did not stop seeking the Light. He has been quoted as saying, "At present I absolutely want to paint a starry sky. It often seems to me that Night is still more richly colored than the day; having hues of the most intense violets, blues, and greens. If only you pay attention to it you will see that certain stars are lemon-yellow, others pink or a green, blue and forgot-me-not brilliance. Without my expatiating on this theme it is obvious that putting little white dots on the blue-black is not enough to paint a starry sky."