It is still pretty early here in California. I’m in the office of my day job, a job I thoroughly enjoy. The sun is casting golden beams of light in through the blinds and it’s hard to imagine that it is actually December. The mornings have been cold, but by noon most days it’s back to t-shirt weather.
The holiday season is always a bit crazy, and being a Pagan in a psuedo-Judeo/Christian society can be strange. Here in America, everyone seems to just default to Christmas. If you live here you MUST celebrate Christmas, and if you don’t, you tip their world over.
It isn’t even the really devout Christians that get the most weirded out all the time. I mean, sure, they’re the ones who started this idea that there is some sort of war on Christmas, but I’ve gotten the most flack when I talk about how Christmas to me is a secular, family holiday, much like Thanksgiving, only with presents.
I don’t really decorate for Yule or Christmas. I live alone and it seems silly to me to spend a weekend putting stuff up, then take a weekend pulling it down and storing it when I’m the only one to see it.
That isn’t to say that all the years of my life as a Christian, and all of those Christmas traditions have gone away. One of my favorite memories of those times was Christmas Eve candlelight service. All those candles, lit one by one, passing the flame…the sanctuary lit up like daylight, only the light was softer and warmer than the sun ever seemed to be in winter. We lit candles at home on Christmas Eve long after we stopped attending that church.
Today I light candles a little earlier. On Yule I like to light my entire living room with candlelight. It is said that candles at Yule are what we call sympathetic magic…we are reminding the sun that we need it to return, and welcoming him as he is born anew.
There is a feeling of hope that permeates these winter holidays, whether you celebrate the birth of the sun or the birth of your God, whether you ignore all that and give gifts of love to your family…there is hope.
That is something that can be hard to see. It’s there, if you look. Just light a candle. Even one candle can dispel the darkness for a time.