The season of light

There is something about Christmas that speaks to my heart in a way few other holidays do. I find myself humming little snatches of songs at odd moments. I find excuses to do yet more fun things with my kids and their friends and cousins. And I catch myself staring out the window watching the wildlife or sitting on the porch breathing in the cold snap of the air while the kids build this year’s iteration of the Incredibly Amazingly Awesome Front Yard Snow Fort (not to be confused with the Awesomely Incredible Amazing Back Yard Snow Fort).

It might be because it is a time when family comes together.  When I think about it though, that happens more than just this once a year when you have a large family with many birthdays and weddings and new babies and other excuses for celebrations, so that can’t be it.

It could possibly be because it is a most perfect excuse to spend many, many hours making and crafting and baking, though I rarely need an excuse and will happily spend hours making and crafting and baking just because it’s raining out, or because someone is feeling blue, or because it’s Tuesday.

And it might be that I get to decorate the entire house from top to bottom with twinkle lights and sparkly gold ornaments and a little Christmas village full of quaint little houses and darling miniature people for the kids to play with and me to smile at. I do so like adding a little bit of sparkle to the house and often wonder why I don’t have twinkle lights scattered about all the time.

But none of those reasons quite hit the mark.

When I think about it, when I reach deep into the heart of the matter and feel for what I love most about Christmas, it’s the light.

The winter solstice falls just a few days before Christmas. It is a day of magic and mystery to some, a day of science reconfirmed to others, but all agree the winter solstice is significant. That day when we stop falling further into darkness and start edging our way slowly back towards the light is a powerful thing.

You might not notice it much at first, but by Christmas day it is no longer a suspicion, but an obvious truth: Today had oh so slightly more sunshine than yesterday, and tomorrow brings the promise of more again. Spring is coming, bit by bit, and with it all the dreams of gardens and harvests and wonderful family meals fresh from the earth.

Too optimistic? I could see how you might see it that way. Spring is, for us, still months away (though I must admit, having had the first green Christmas in over a decade, Spring does feel like she is already here). I still dread the bitterly cold days of late January and am resigned to the dreariness of February and seemingly endless month of March. But with the dawn of Christmas day, I know deep inside that this little ball of water and rock we call home has continued on its merry way around the universe, laws of physics and orbital mechanics still intact, carrying us all along for the journey.

And with that knowledge comes the surety that Spring is indeed coming.

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