"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heavens."
Line 1, Chapter 3, Ecclesiastes, King James Version
This is our favorite line from the Bible and it best describers this festive time of the year. We're old fashioned to the extent that we believe the holiday season begins on the first of December and ignore all the commercial hype until that day.
The first things we notice are the lights. Candles in windows, a tree in a lobby, garlands strung from eaves, fairy lights in trees, and ropes with evergreens twisted around bannisters. Light is the essence of the season and time that provides the cornerstone of observance.
It is the strong foundation that we think of during the holidays, which have existed in one form or another for centuries in the northern hemisphere. Winter begins for us on December 21st at 11:48 pm when the sun is at its lowest point in the sky.
A time of a new beginning of the winter equinox when the sun rises, by slow degrees, higher in the heavens each day and the darkness recedes into the past.
Countless people rejoiced over the eons of time with the reappearance of the sun. They built great monuments to mark the sun's passage of which the Stonehenge in England is only one of many scattered across the globe. The holiday season can be remembered as a Druid rebirth, the birthday of a Roman God, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or Christian Christmas, but the flowering motif of all the festivals is light and it emergence from the darkness on earth.
Be grateful that we live in a country whose founders provided for all beliefs and observe the coming of light in your fashion. If you are greedy like us, try to work a bit from each belief with their different customs into your celebration or create your own. This is what the early church fathers did to make Christianity acceptable to the peoples of Europe as they spread their word of deliverance from what they considered paganism.
Remember most of all to light a candle and keep it burning throughout the season.