Sunday, December 22, 2013
The essence of Christmas
I know a lot of you out there are Christians and so I presume that celebrating Christ's birth at this time of year is something you have to struggle to hold dear in this increasingly frenzied avalanche of media inducement to make the holidays all about unbridled excess, an orgasmic frenzy of spending and consumption fit for a Roman Orgy... everything Christ stood against, actually. Well, I seriously mean Good Luck to you all, try and have the Christmas that means something to you and hold out against the tsunami of pressure to be a consumerist drone.
Despite being a non-believer I have always loved Christmas, snow in the air (OK, a bit of frost!), berries in the trees for robin red breast to feast on, twinkly lights brightening the shortest days of the year, being with family and friends, people making the effort to come together for that one meal before trailing away into our increasingly distant lives for another 12 months. The last few years I have been struggling to figure out what, if anything, it means to me. Wondering why I send cards, why I wrap presents, why, why, why - if this is just another excuse for some profit making organisation to take our money and make us do what they have decided we should all do when they have decreed we should do it?
My answer has come from Stonehenge. The latest theories about it's use by my/our ancient British ancestors suggest that it was the site of the largest Neolithic gatherings in the whole of Northern Europe, coming together to celebrate the Winter Solstice. They now know that Brits came from as far as the islands at the top of Scotland, many weeks of travel, bringing with them livestock and supplies, just to gather and feast and revel. If, like me, you find the long bleakness of Winter hard to cope with, then I guess it all makes sense, how much worse was it for them before neon lights and TV to while away the hours of darkness... you couldn't even settle down with a good book, because no-one could write yet, let alone read!
So, I guess in the end if you are one of us non-believers, then it HAS ALWAYS been about fire lights brightening the shortest days of the year, being with family and friends (and strangers too) - people making the effort to come together for that one meal (or perhaps even orgiastic feast!) before trailing away into our increasingly distant lives for another 12 months.
So, have a Wonderful Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkha, or whatever reason you find to come together... Peace on Earth... wouldn't that be nice! xxx
Photos by Peacesoujourner