Season of Light

Today is blustery as all get out, no snow unfortunately. A good day though to cook and bake, which is exactly what I'm doing. Yesterday we spent the day creating, together as a family, gifts for grandparents, aunties and uncles.

With Thanksgiving come and gone it seems Christmastime is truly upon us. If you celebrate some other festival, religious holiday, special occasion - that's cool. But we celebrate Christmas so I plan to talk about this time of year as such. Which reminds me, I nearly choked on my home brew blueberry wine on Thanksgiving (I was laughing so hard) at our friend's house when he sang some Christmas song about christmahanuah kwanzadan. Ok, I guess you had to be there...

But I am going somewhere with all this. I have a new header up to honor and celebrate what this time of year means to me. Personally, I like the irony of it. At this, the darkest time of year, we celebrate light.

Christmas tree lights Dec 2008
Christmas tree lights at my parents
Dec 2008

Traditions and people groups throughout the ages, especially in the northern hemisphere (don't quote me on this, I'm no historian) have had festivals of light for millennia during this time of year. Understandably. It's dark. Time to light the candles, stoke those bonfires. Remember warmth, remember light and pray for it's return.

I too celebrate light this time of year. We plug in those new LED Christmas lights (which I don't like as much as the old energy inefficient string lights), burn candles and turn on lamps to add warmth to the darkness of the long afternoons and evenings.

But that's not truly the light I celebrate this time of year. Like I said before, I am not an historian. I don't know the actual month when Jesus, the Jew from Nazareth but born in Bethlehem, was actually born. Christian tradition celebrates His birth now, no doubt because hundreds of years ago the church powers-that-be wanted to "christianize" pagan winter festivals. Speaking of which, I like to celebrate the solstice with candles and merry making.

The origin of the season however doesn't matter much to me, except from a "hum, isn't that interesting" perspective. What matters to me is that our family follows tradition and chooses this time of year to honor the birth of our Savior.

Does He ask us to do this? No. Is observing His birth a requirement of our faith? I doubt it. But a yearly celebration of the birth of the light that shines in the darkness is a good thing.

And as much as this time is about recalling the story of Jesus' birth it's about a world longing (groaning in pain actually) for His return. Don't you feel it? That's a really personal question and you certainly don't have to answer, but I feel the pain. Children lonely and abused. Families torn and broken. Nations corrupted and bankrupted. The earth ravaged and scorched.

But that is not the end of the story! Thank God, because if it was I wouldn't feel like living, especially during these darkest days of the year.

And maybe that's why we turn to the light during this season. Because where there is light, darkness can't creep in. Not into our homes and not into our hearts.

That's what I celebrate this time of year. I celebrate Jesus who, "through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it." (Gospel of John 1:4-5)

It may be dark; I feel it keenly these days. But the darkness has not understood the light, has not overcome the light. And so that's what I'm celebrating! I'm celebrating life. I'm celebrating the light.


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  • Leticia

    Leticia on Nov. 28, 2009, 11:59 p.m.

    Hey Rene! Welcome back, yea, the last time you post something was like 4 days ago!! It sounds you had a good time at your friend house. I can wait for you to write about the Reason for this season. It does not matter if He was born in Summer time, this is the time that we humans have appointed and, I don't think it bothers to Him. I'm trying to get it together and write about how much we enjoy Christmas. My kids made me put the tree before Thanksgiving, they couldn't wait any longer!

    Leticia's last blog post... Christmas Decoration


  • Denise

    Denise on Nov. 29, 2009, 1:51 a.m.

    Renee, wonderfully written and oh, so true. While out running this morning I kept thinking about Christmas and how I could easily skip it. I truly needed to read this post. Thank you so much for reminding me that it is not about me. Christmas is about Him. A favorite verse of mine lately is John 10:10 - He came that we may have life. And, have it to the full. I don't think we should be sitting around in darkness waiting for His return - let's live in the light!! (even if it is candle light)


  • Spring

    Spring on Nov. 29, 2009, 2:23 a.m.

    Thanks for articulating this so beautifully! Resonates in my spirit tonight, as I curl up by the woodstove with the kids, and look at the new tree we just finished decorating.

    Spring's last blog post... Let it Snow!


  • nicola@which name?

    nicola@which name? on Nov. 29, 2009, 11:10 p.m.

    beautiful post. we, too, celebrate christmas, but more in a spiritual, family way, than religiously. i love your thoughts and descriptiveness. i love your new header. i love the changes in light outside and in as we move through autumn and into and through winter. i cannot wait to see photos you take capturing this. my skill and camera are too limited to capture the photos my eye sees through this season. nicola

    nicola@which name?'s last blog post... inspired internet:: november


  • Jody

    Jody on Nov. 30, 2009, 3:04 p.m.

    I know, everyone else has already said it.....BUT, I will say it as well and echo the sentiment. Beautifully written and expressed. There are days when the pain in the world is very deeply felt & seen (perhaps as a pull on hearts to pray for those in need ~ whatever their need may be that day).
    But to say it is the "Season of Light", perfect. It captures the season as a whole, doesn't it? The transition physically of the light of day ~ the soft candle lights ~ the warm fire glow and the real reason for the season: Jesus the light of the world. I am blessed by your photos and am anxiously awaiting to see the various ways in which your work will capture the "lights of the season". Peace on Earth, Good will to ALL. and the snow will fall softly. white, on a dark and dreary world -- covering the ground with a clean & radiant white robe. (so much of nature is a metaphor of God's love & plan for us.) Love you much, Jody


  • daffodil_lane

    daffodil_lane on Feb. 7, 2010, 9:13 p.m.

    This is just lovely, and so thought provoking!

    I have spent a bit looking around your blog - you have a lot to offer! If you are ever this way (waaaaaay west), we have a few trails you might like. But really, how can a hike that involves an antique store be so bad?!


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