December is my favorite time of year. In this month of darkness, in this the darkest month, the light of the human spirit shines forth in a fullness shown by so many, in so many ways. As the days grow shorter, houses and trees are decorated, and snow falls. In the hushed silence of the nights, lights shine in windows, and the beauty is shared by all. For this season of giving brings the festivals of lights: Diwali, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa. Each tradition incorporates light in its ceremonies and decorations.
A neighbor friend of mine who lives down the road where we used to live, a donkey in his stable, reminds me of the story of another manger 2000 years ago. And seeing him snug in his stable with snow on the ground used to give me the illusion that all is right in the world. But all is not well. Not now, not then. Millions know no peace in any season. A world-wide pandemic rages. Politics that divide us runs rampant.
This year some have no food, no home. Others fret over how to pay bills. Yet even living in darkest of times we can see the light of the human spirit and celebrate the season of light in personal ways. For the human spirit is indomitable.
In December’s darkness we light lights. For we are beings of light. A light glows within each one of us. And, at the most basic level, we are beings of light because we are made from stardust. Perhaps that is why the stars hold such majesty for us– for we are made from star material.
Einstein said: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us the ‘Universe”– a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts, and feelings, as something separated from the rest– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circles of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” We are all cut from the same cloth and our inner light unites us.
And in this holiday season we behold the night sky as shepherds did two thousand years ago on the birth of the holy infant, in a stable like the one down the road where my donkey friend lives. That night a star (maybe the congruence) lit the whole sky to guide the shepherds, and on these deep, long, silent nights as we light our houses, our candles, our trees, if we are blessed enough to have them, let us look inside ourselves and find the glow that may guide us to The Light.