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The celebration of the return of the sun to the northern hemisphere, which begins every year this time in December, has gone on for as long as man walked upright and kept track of days. What we call an ancient tradition. The fact that religious sects, over centuries, have co-brokered this yearly celebration, molding something natural and obvious into something supernatural and not obvious at all, does not detract from the truth that the northern hemisphere of earth still reaches it's furthest distance from the life-giving sun around this time of December every year...and marks the beginning of a new life-giving cycle.
Life can thrive without religion....but there would be no life at all without the sun. Perspective required.
And so it is with the December holidays. No, we don't need to celebrate the 'rebirth' of the sun...or the birth of a mythological son....each December, for our lives to be filled with joy, love and hope......however, there can be no joy, love or hope, at all, in our lives, without our personal 'suns'.....our families and loved ones.
Just a few days before Christmas, seven years ago, my father collapsed and died of a heart attack. That year's Christmas was hardly celebratory for our family. Christmas-eve candlelight programs, prayers, carols, pretty packages, recitations of biblical myths, greetings of 'Merry Christmas'.....none of those things.....had any meaningful purpose for us that holiday season.
But we had each other. And that was enough to find comfort and joy, even in the darkest days of that December.
As with the movement of the earth in relationship to the sun, we often take our families and loved ones for granted. I would venture to say, much too often. Yet, our families and loved ones are the 'suns' of our lives. They, alone, give our lives meaning and value. Without them our lives would be dimmer, colder, empty. Nothing....religious or otherwise....would be an adequate replacement.
Draw closer to your family and loved ones this week, celebrate them...for without them there is no real life at all.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to each and every one.