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December ...

December...it seems to come more quickly every year, and this revelation isn't news! It is, however, a staggering realization every single year. We know it's coming, and yet we are always amazed that it does so with such persistent determination. Our culture is so packed with activity and opportunities throughout the preceding 11 months, that time to be still and reflect, are seen as luxuries at best, and a waste of time at worst. But, it seems to me that reflection is precisely what December, and the Christmas season, ask and offer. We reflect on the sacred traditions that established this celebration, and the generations of human traditions that have embellished it. This past weekend, as we worked on the exterior lights that will burn to illuminate our home each night, my husband mused as to why we put light on the outside of our house, and what that had to do with Christmas. My answer and my intentions may not be historically correct, but here goes...

 

The tradition of putting candles in the window was to signal welcome to visitors on cold,

winter-dark evenings. It seems to date back as far as there have been candles - or windows. As we've all learned somehow through the years, candles were also stuck to tree branches with melted wax during the Middle Ages and fastened with more sophisticated methods over the centuries that followed. We have certainly expanded and improved our lighting technologies over the generations, but the festooning of glimmering lights still signals "welcome, friends"! In addition to our celebration of the birth of Christ, this is historically a time of year when the harvest and tasks related to storing up for the long dark winter were completed. Then, as we do now, families took time to spend with each other to feast on the harvest's fruits, to sing and laugh and reflect together. We busy ourselves these days with far less survival-oriented activity throughout the year than generations and cultures before us have, but we still find that the brightest and most glorious time of the year still happens during the shortest and darkest days of winter.

 

Wednesday we begin the Tree!! 

 

 

 

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