We can attempt to teach the things that one might imagine the earth would teach us: silence, humility, holiness, connectedness, courtesy, beauty, celebration, giving, restoration, obligation and wildness.
David Orr from "Earth in Mind"

Dec 4, 2007

Bringing Light Out of Darkness

Hanukkah began tonight with little to do. I have a hard time trying to stuff the Christmas Frenzy into a holiday that's not actually a major holiday with in the Jewish religion. I have been reading lots of other blogs where people are all having a wonderful time with Advent. At first I thought we might try to use Hanukkah to do some of that but it felt insincere. Instead we're going to light the candles, go to the temple party on Friday night and Alder will get a few books on winter. Next year I'll bring out my dreidels that I have had since I was a child, and get some gelt (chocolate money) and I'll show Alder how to play that ancient betting game (the only time all year we ever bet). You can look here for other ideas about Hanukkah that talk about it in it's own right rather than a stand in for christmas.

The reality of living in a predominantly christain country our extend family shares gifts on Christmas day because it is a time when we are all guaranteed to have off. As children we used to have a Christmas tree because my mother and aunt always wanted one as children, as we have grown up we have scaled back, first to a Christmas log and now we just put the presents in the spot where there used to be a tree.

We may have a tree some year here. Kevin's family was big into Christmas and we probably aren't going to make it back there very often for the holiday (children and airplanes and holidays...no). Personally having grown up with one I have no qualms with them, they come from a pagan ritual and while it has little to do with a temple being rebuilt and the miracle of oil, they are enjoyable and smell good.

As a family we will do our celebrating on the Solstice. There we can be free of religious connotations and revel in the darkness on last time before the light returns. That night we will feast and share it with friends and read poems, there will be wine and the spirit of the each other and the earth. It's her rhythm that we are tied to before all others.

Tomorrow we're off after work for a night at the cabin by the fireplace and sledding on the hill Thursday morning.

hmm...all this has gotten me thinking. There will most likely be more on Hanukkah and the Festival of Lights.

1 comment:

amanda said...

First of all, I love your new look here, and I noticed you have your etsy shop up and running! nice :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here. One of my good friends is trying to find a way that feels right to handle the winter holidays of her inter-faith marriage. Her children are three this year, so starting to be aware of family traditions and the cultural assumptions people make (especially here in MN--land of the Lutherans). It's a lot to think about, at least it has been for my friend.
Enjoy your celebrating--whenever and whatever and however! Your solstice party sounds like fun.