“Yule” be glad you read this!
My family loves a good celebration. This fact makes December quite a fun month for us. There is so much to celebrate. I am fond of using the term “Happy Holidays” during this season because I never know who is celebrating what, or if they are like me and celebrating everything they can.
Tonight my family and I celebrated Yule with a faith community we have grown a part of. Each year we join with them on this, the longest night of the year, and give thanks for the gift of light on the day way have it the least. We sing songs, listen to music, and light candles as we welcome back the sun and the longer days to come.
This night as we sat in this service celebrating the solstice, my youngest son leaned over and said, “So all the holidays this month have to do with light huh?” I was impressed at the observation and answered yes. Then I sat back and thought about how wonderful it is that despite differing belief systems so many people can celebrate light at the special time of the year.
As we talked about the season and the importance of light, we brought up some of our favorite “light-themed” traditions we celebrate through each year. Here are 3 of our favorites:
- Decorating the Christmas Tree – There is always something magical about pulling old ornaments out of dusty bags and boxes, then strategically placing them on a tree that will fill your house with a special warmth. Without fail we get caught up in nostalgic stories as we touch once again those ornaments that commemorate cherished memories of years gone by. Then very few moments can compare with that moment you plug in the lights that adorn your tree and take in this one-of-a-kind work of art you have put together for this year’s celebration.
- Lighting a Menorah – For eight nights at sunset we enjoy the opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah by lighting the candles in our family’s menorah. We get to talk together and imagine how special that miracle must have been to the Jews during those days. We got to contemplate how wonderful and comforting that light must have been. We get to pause and be thankful for all that we have.
- Our Solstice Circle – I mentioned it before but It is so good I couldn’t exclude it from this list, but this service put on by our many of the members in our local community is something we look forward to every year. We sit in a dark room as a community of friends and loved ones accepting the dark cold season we are in and prepare ourselves to welcome back the sun and the life giving light it brings. We connect to one another and to our ancestors who celebrated this event many thousands of years before us.
There are so many ways we celebrate this season of light, and almost all of them bring us closer together with those we love. Whether it be the light of Christ’s love, the light from candles held by a menorah, the light from a yule log, or simply the light of a fire in a fireplace gather those you love close around you and cherish the time you have with them.