The clocks have changed and the months of long, dark evenings have arrived. Some bemoan this, and really, if clocks stopped changing twice a year I would have zero objections.
Clocks do currently change, though, for better or for worse. And now that they have, I’m getting excited about holiday decorations. Specifically, light displays.
The real ones won’t go up for a few weeks, but hints of the season are visible now. The fairy lights on all the trees lining the streets downtown have been lit, for example. The huge tree the city puts on display takes weeks to assemble, and I’m sure will be delivered soon. Spying the progress as it’s put together and then decorated is always one of the joys November brings.
I don’t celebrate Christmas. I was raised Jewish and identify as such, but I’m not particularly observant of any religion.
Christmas, to me, is simply the most prevalent solstice celebration in our culture. It has nothing to do with religion. It is Christianity’s take on a celebration of the solstice.
Every religion and culture I’ve ever heard of has its own take on winter solstice celebrations. It is a way of acknowledging the darkest days are over and brighter ones are ahead. It offers lightness and joy to the darkest time of the year.
I don’t care that I’m not “supposed” to celebrate Christmas. I love Christmas. I love everything about it; the decorating, the gatherings with friends, the beauty and color found all around during the holiday season. I even love all the music.
I love the promise it holds of better times ahead.
Today, I will string fairy lights up in my living room and bedroom. I will add warmth and cheer to my home, for me to enjoy every day as I putter and read. It will make me smile to see the lights come on every evening and to witness their warmth as I have my coffee every morning.
It will bring joy to dark times.
Someone I know asked, I think in jest, if it was too early to start decorating for Christmas. I sympathized with her, completely.
To her, and anyone else hesitating about whether it is right or proper or socially acceptable to start putting up decorations and getting excited, I say this:
Do the things that bring joy and light to dark times. Always.