December 2018: Winter Notes from the Journey

Our location impacts our relationship to the Winter season. We have our dramatic weather events but snow, cold, and long darkness are not significant elements of our life here on the Emerald Coast of Florida.

I’m persuaded that the religious/meaning myths, customs, rituals from ancient times where powerfully informed by those ancestors whose region was the northern hemisphere. A bit of study confirms that: while Judaism and Christianity where founded in the Middle East it spread northward and the influence of the Earth Religions of the folks of what is today Northern Europe gave us so much of our Winter Festivals, Observances. Winter based holy days. 

In the dark, long, cold Winter of increasing scarcity the old ones’ imaginations provided visions and hope of the warming and renewing Sun and all that meant. With that natural miracle of seasonal changes, the ole ones linked their faith, their trust in the glory and hope of life’ renewing. They created stories and characters to embellish the faith they crafted.  Those were blended with the Middle Eastern/Greek/Roman hybrid ‘theology’ involving Jesus. Winter Sun’s return became the birth time for the Son of God. Gifts of abundance in time of scarcity became symbolic of the wonder of life’s bounty and faithfulness.  

For me the central focus of the Winter holy days is “expectation”. For the ancient pre-Christians it was the expectation of life’s natural renewing: Spring with crops and animal increase resulting in growth, harvest, and bounty. For the Christians the Winter Holy days were celebrations/remembrances of the expected birth of a Savior that offers eternal life. Expectations matter. Imagination matters. 

We humans are tool crafters: meaning makers and are most creative when we conjure stories and ideas that confirm our connection to life’s vitality and blessings. It is our gift and challenge! We are and of the being that is life. 

So, let it be…please take time during the rush and stress of often strained travels/visits, maddening gift buying, problematic partying, and general ordeal of the holidays to know that life is faithful and in the midst of the trials are the affirming blessings. 

And a most precious gift we can offer ourselves is to honor and trust that. In the process, along the journey are the wonders. Don’t let the work of the season block out the real gifts of being and becoming. Expect wonder…it is real and faithful. 

May the best of the Season be yours!

– Love, Peggy and Doak