Here we are again. Another year has swept us up, spun us around, and deposited us back into the deepest darkness of winter.
This is the season of rest. The aspen and piñon, dormant now after months of raucous growth, know it. Hibernating animals, snug in their dens, know it. We modern humans, though, tend to live life at full tilt, out of sync with the natural rhythms. Yet incessant busyness leads to illness of body and spirit, for we, too, need a time to be still.
As I sit to write, snow falls outside my window. The wind that has plagued our mountain community for days has calmed, at least for now. A hush has come to our valley, and all is still.
This outer quiet hushes me as well. I have been a whirlwind these past few weeks, but like the air currents of our tiny town, my own frenetic pace has calmed. Like the earth outside our door, I too am being blanketed. Peace falls upon me, and I find I can trust once again that, at the deepest level, all is well.
I hear my husband downstairs, puttering about the kitchen. The heater kicks on, fan humming warmth into the morning~cool air of our home. The clock ticks beside me on the nightstand of the guest room where I have come to write, stretched out on the spare bed, back propped against pillows, a richly hued Pendleton blanket covering me.
Amid such soothing, my thoughts turn to the Winter Solstice…and to Christmas, the day picked centuries ago to celebrate the birth of Christ whose actual date of arrival on the planet is lost to history.
The longest night of the year was this past Wednesday. The observant among us will notice the sun beginning to rise and set a bit farther to the north each day, with its arc reaching higher as it travels the sky. And though the cold deepens, the daylight will last longer as the weeks go by.
What better time to celebrate the birth of Jesus and his Light~filled message than when light has just begun its increase in the outer world. Christ urges us to love one another, to practice peace and forgiveness, to care for the least among us. Yes, this is what Light’s return would look like.
Today, as we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we each take a cue from the natural world and be still for at least a few moments. And as winter’s hush falls upon us, may it carry Christ’s message of love more deeply into our souls. May that message take root there as never before, bursting forth with new shoots and blossoms~~in ways we cannot yet imagine~~as we live that love into the future. And may a deep and abiding peace come to us all. Amen.
Merry Christmas, Happy Solstice, and blessed whatever brings you back to joy!