We’ve been celebrating Solstice in our household for several years now. And I have to admit it’s taken a while for me to not miss Christmas. Fifty plus years of that holiday goes in deep. And lingers. Made more poignant by the huge presence of the holiday and all its trappings for increasing months each year. It’s easy to be nostalgic about decorated trees and memories of childhood Christmas times. And sometimes those ghosts drift through with a tug of longing. Still, shifting to Solstice is a decision we have never regretted.
There’s much about the Christmas holiday I don’t miss and much of what I don’t miss has made it easy to disengage. I don’t miss the frantic consumption that takes people over and the sense of obligation to buy things for people who quite frankly don’t need anything. Things too often made by poor people and children, too often under slave labor conditions. Too soon headed for the landfill. Annie Leonard, creator of the Story of Stuff, reports that only 1% will be in use six months from now. I don’t miss the idea that what and how much is gifted to others is somehow a measure of love. I don’t miss Santa taking center stage from Jesus. Whether he was born on December 25th or not, and most biblical scholars agree not, Jesus was a most amazing being of light and love.
After all, Light is the true reason for the season. The return of the Light in this season and all seasons of darkness. Attending the Light we all hold and again setting an intention to make our Light manifest in the world. And so we celebrate Solstice with light. We find music to play that doesn’t involve reindeer. We host a sacred Solstice Fire celebration. And then, while the rest of the world is busy with Christmas, we tuck into a few days of peace. Reading, writing, being on the land. Time to be still and be with the Light.
Ironic, really. That the choice to celebrate Solstice and the Light gives us the space to do just that. A Light that continues to dispel the ghosts of Christmases past.