Sunday, January 11, 2015
Deep Into Winter
First it was Autumn, and I am always drawn in by the colorful drama of Nature. Autumn was busy here in the little ghost town I call home. We have agrarian-based festivals-pumpkin festivals, for heaven's sake-and I am all about anything that involves that bright orange globe. I have quite the Halloween collection, and most specifically, Jack-O-Lanterns.
In the blink of an eye it was Thanksgiving. I think Thanksgiving gets a raw deal in our modern day life, sandwiched as it is between Halloween and Christmas. The general public seems to cruise right by Thanksgiving. When I was a kid, it was the gateway to Christmas. You didn't see anything about Christmas until after Thanksgiving because once upon a time in America the day was actually reserved for giving thanks...and they went to church. I am a huge proponent of liturgical ritual, and Thanksgiving is just about the only time you you are going to hear me carping about public worship.
Up until the beginning of the last decade, churches held interfaith services where the community came to give thanks for the blessings we enjoyed and shared in as Americans. Usually this was the night before Thanksgiving because the next day was filled with meal preparation and visiting relatives. Even before that, individual denominations would sponsor a Thanksgiving service early on Thursday morning- and we all actually got ourselves out of bed, cleaned ourselves up, and trotted to the nearest house of worship to sing a round of 'Harvest Home'. I'll grant you that the majority of us no longer live or work on farms, but we certainly profit from the activities of those who do, and I believe it's a right and decent thing to give thanks at least once a year for the bounty they provide.
After all, it is Thanks-giving Day and not National Sleep-in-Front of the Football Game Day.
As soon as I cleaned off the remains of Thanksgiving dinner from the table, it was, quite literally, Advent. I am one of those people who actually observe the four weeks of waiting and don't just pop into church to watch them light the candle of the week. Somewhere int here I remember Hanukkah to honor my Jewish ancestors and the Winter Solstice-because axial tilt is the real reason for the seasonal celebration before it was co-opted by the early Christian leadership who realized they were never going to completely eradicate the merriment of Saturnalia and other year end celebrations.
The meaning of Christmas has changed for me over the years; now it is a time of remembrance of relatives who died years ago and carrying out the few family traditions they left. Christmas reminds me where I came from and who I still am at my roots. It's a time to breathe a sigh of relief that I've gotten through one more year and am heading toward another with hope.
So much for the last four months. The point of starting this blog was to talk about my journey, not that of others. It was to show how imperfect being human can be. And I am an imperfect being, no doubt about that. It is something I am willing to claim and be responsible for: here I am, warts, scars and all. Limping into the New Year, weighed down by more baggage, blinking after emerging from the ever present darkness and in search of the Light.