A cloudy morning with a flurry passing by now and then. It is seasonably cold following two storms of snow and ice. The snow lies deep across the land, promising a white Christmas. Christmas music, much of it bad, fills the airwaves. More snow tomorrow; snow on Christmas Day is a meteorological rarity here even though historically we have white Christmases about 75% of the time. Tomorrow is Christmas. Jennie and I are trying to work out Christmas sans little ones. Without kids as guides I struggle to find my way through the vast forest of consumerism to anything approaching reverence, mystery and awe. Although I realize Christmas day marks the first day, after the solstice, one can detect the sun’s trajectory rising in the sky, my heart firmly rests with the solstice and I must work to create a space for Christmas.
Friday evening we gathered, with those friends who managed to make it through the snow and flu to reach our home, to celebrate the solstice and thankfully acknowledge Grandfather Fire. The evening was dark and the house bright and warm, the fire blazing in the hearth. As we sat with Grandfather we acknowledged that his presence in our lives is complex, sometimes seemingly destructive as he clears the way for new growth. We also remembered that our experience of Fire largely depends on our attitude towards him and the living world of which he is an integral part.
When I stop for a moment and think about Christmas, my frustration softens. The Christmas story is one of hope in a time of quiet desperation, of resistance in a time of tyranny and cultural genocide. Jesus’ birth in a manger in a stable, an entry into the physical world completely lacking in status, barely noticed, points to the way profound change can begin quietly, almost invisibly. Herod’s rage and terror, and his destruction of babies, the hope of the future, point toward the desperation and ruthlessness those in power may exhibit when they realize change has taken root and threatens their power.
It is a story that resonates across the years, especially with Indigenous people. No wonder my father held it so close.
This day, and night, we await the coming into the world of long promised light, and with it an end to tyranny. We prepare ourselves to become vessels for the light in the radiant darkness, filled compassion, a commitment to justice, and awe. May our hearts and spirits be receptive and may we care for one another in the inevitably difficult time of personal and societal change that must come with the return of the light.