December is such a magical time. There are special foods, beautiful decorations, and the thrill of giving in the air. There is peace and hope, goodwill and love, and a light shining in the darkness. At times, it can feel as if the darkness is stronger, but the sun continues to always shine, even when the days are shorter and we see it less often. "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." Those words penned by John are often spoken at this time of year. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, they can be a beacon toward remembering that goodness outlasts the bad. We all need reminding of that, perhaps especially this year.
This year, Hanukkah begins on Christmas Eve. Another name for Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights and it commemorates the rededication of the temple. Whether you celebrate Hanukkah or not, there is a beauty in the idea of a setting aside, a pausing to remember the sacred, and again, a celebration of light in the darkness.
Here in Ireland, there is an ancient celebration of the light as well, in the observance of the winter solstice at Newgrange. It is the oldest solar observatory in the world (5,000 years old) and on the shortest day of the year, the light on the horizon at sunrise perfectly lines up to illuminate the chamber. Once again, this is a celebration of light from darkness.
Wishing you the very happiest of holidays! May light shine in the darkness and leave you uplifted in peace.
My best to you all,