Recently, as I was going into a store, I passed a display of fresh cut green wreaths they they were selling. It was the most lovely smell! That fresh pine scent filled my nose and “awakened my senses”, as the old hymn goes. For me this is a season filled with sensual delights. The smells of pine and cinnamon, the delight of surprise, the sound of familiar songs, and the warm embrace of friends. It’s the triumph of warmth over cold, of light over darkness, of delight over cynicism.
One of my favorite parts of the Holiday Season are the lights. Strung from trees and arranged outside homes, as candles in windows, the candles of the Menorah, they all give the holiday its warmth and cheer. They send the message that this time of the year is different. They seem to say, "This is a special time of year. Welcome!" The holidays are all around us. You can tell by the lights.
Unfortunately, though, for some people that light does not extend to their faces, or their hearts. The lights don’t seem to be able to penetrate into those dark places. That's where the brilliance of this time of year is often the most dim.
There is certainly pain in the world. I don’t want to minimize that. This seems to be a particularly difficult year. There are many, many souls on this planet who are suffering in ways we cannot begin to imagine.
There is loneliness, hunger, poverty, despair, torture. All of that should be in our consciousness, in our hearts, in our minds, in our very souls.
Typically, also, this is a time of year when folks are stressed. People are rushing about trying to find that perfect gift. They are worrying about the holiday meal. There is over-spending, over eating, over...well you get the idea. What if the party doesn’t go well? What if Uncle George and Aunt Irma get into a fight again this year? What if somebody starts talking politics?
So much stress! So much anxiety! So many things to worry about!
But there is also compassion, empowerment, healing, peace, love and joy. There is generosity of spirit. There are strangers doing random acts of kindness. There are sappy, sentimental stories and sappy, sentimental songs. And there are those beautiful, warm, lovely lights lighting the world and warming our hearts.
If we allow the suffering of the world to completely drown out the delights of this joyful time of year, then evil has triumphed. If we become so stressed out that we no longer take time to focus on the true wonder and joy of the season, then the commercialism has taken over. If our faces and our hearts cannot reflect, even for a single moment, the beauty of the lights, then the cynics have won.
Our theme for the month of December is “peace”, so in this season of light, I urge you to find a way to sit quietly some night, if only for a moment. Find a moment of peace. Just sit quietly and smell the scents of the candles- even if they’re in your imagination. Listen for the sounds of the angel’s singing even if they’re singing “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer”. And notice the beauty of those beautiful holiday lights, even if they are simply the stars above our heads.
May you all have a warm, beautiful, lovely and loving holiday season.
Wishing you peace and blessing,