We are in the midst of the holiday season. It is mid-Hanukkah when I write this. I’m working on this Sunday’s Winter Solstice service and also planning for the Christmas Eve Candlelight service. And there are a dozen other possible holidays I know of that people may be celebrating during this time.
I was raised as a Christian, so I grew up celebrating Christmas. Same with my wife, Cheryl. Both of us were introduced to celebrating the Winter Solstice by friends who had a more nature-based spirituality. We also celebrate New Year’s Eve– though how we do that has changed over the years. In fact, all of our holiday celebrations have evolved and shifted over time. This year is most certainly different from past years. We do have our Christmas tree (it even has lights on it and is standing up straight!). We might have a few Christmas presents to exchange. (Cheryl is much better at that than I am.) And we have settled on how we will do our annual Christmas elfery this year… trying to make the holiday better for others. But we will be celebrating alone this year. Her father can’t join us. Our annual New Year’s Eve game party and midnight dance outside in the cold will be just the two of us, this year. It is a little sad– and yet, the celebrations will still take place. There will still be love and joy and sparkling lights and good food. We will Zoom in with family and friends. We might play games with friends online, too. We will pivot. We will adapt. We will celebrate.
Because for us the holidays are really about reflecting on the love we share, our way of being in the world, and our hope for what could yet be. Peace on Earth. Goodwill for All. Joy to the World. Perhaps you feel the same way about your holidays. I hope so. It’s been a rough year– and things are not as we would like them to be– but the meaning, the spirit, of the holidays remains the same.
Peace. Joy. Love. Hope.
Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.
Rev. Craig Schwalenberg & Cheryl DeDecker