Grace and Peace to you.
The true “reason for the season” was before Macy’s and Santa, even before the Christians and their Christ Mass, even before the Romans and their midwinter Saturnalia: on the longest night of the year, in the darkest dark, the earth turned again toward the light. We remember this when we hang wreaths and lights and bring a tree inside. The Christians decided there was no better time to celebrate Jesus than the winter solstice, day the light comes into the world. I don’t think Jesus would mind the “pagan” roots of the solstice celebration. He would have thought it odd to think that he himself was the reason for the season. He came to reveal something even more fundamental than himself: the light of the grace of God. He wanted us to be rooted in Creation, in the most basic truths of our living, like the light that we live in. He wanted us to pay attention to what Is, and to see it as holy. Even as we head into winter, the earth has already begun the lengthening of days, just as God promises resurrection before we even begin to face life’s losses and challenges.
That’s all very well, but I’m thinking about all of you in Australia, where it’s the opposite solstice: today is the first day of Spring. Hm. So I guess the deal is that matter where you are, today is the First Day. And no matter what you are experiencing, it will change. No matter where you are on the great wheel of time, there is neither infinite light nor darkness. The important thing is to tun toward the light. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it. God is present in it all. Where is the light coming into your world? Perhaps in the darkest places.
Today, whether you are entering the Holy of Holies or slogging through a dismal mess, be mindful of the Divine Bliss indwelling within you. Whether this day looks to be a grand one or a flop, remember that it’s the day Christ comes to dwell with you. A day of birth. A first Day. It doesn’t matter whether you are coming or going, whether the day is long or short, your fortunes rising or falling: look toward the light.