The holiday season is a great time for a good celebration. There is so much to celebrate during the month of December. I am fond of using the term “Happy Holidays” during this season because I never know which holiday someone is celebrating, or if they are like me and celebrating everything they can.
We have a diverse group of families making up the Chicago Dads Group. This year families in our group will celebrate Yule, Hanukkah, and Christmas in all their different ways. Last year as my family was celebrating the solstice, my youngest son leaned over and said, “So all the holidays this month have to do with light huh?” I was impressed at the observation and answered yes. Then I sat back and thought about how wonderful it is that despite differing belief systems so many people can celebrate light at the special time of the year.
As my son and I talked about the season and the importance of light. We brought up some of our favorite “light-themed” traditions we celebrate through each year. Here are 3 of our favorites:
- Decorating the Christmas Tree – There is always something magical about pulling old ornaments out of dusty bags and boxes. Strategically placing them on a tree that will fill your house with a special warmth. Without fail we get caught up in nostalgic stories as we touch once again those ornaments that commemorate cherished memories of years gone by. Very few moments can compare with that moment you plug in the lights that adorn your tree and take in this one-of-a-kind work of art you have put together for this year’s celebration.
- Lighting a Menorah – For eight nights at sunset we enjoy the opportunity to celebrate Hanukkah by lighting the candles in our family’s menorah. We get to talk together and imagine how special that miracle must have been to the Jews during those days. We got to contemplate how wonderful and comforting that light must have been. We get to pause and be thankful for all that we have.
- Join a Solstice Circle – Celebrating the winter solstice in a yule circle with our local community is something we look forward to every year. We sit in a dark room as a community of friends and loved ones accepting the dark cold season. We are in and prepare ourselves to welcome back the sun and the life-giving light it brings. We connect to one another and to our ancestors who celebrated this event many thousands of years before us. Then we light candles to bring light into the darkest of nights and celebrate a new season of light.
There are so many ways we celebrate this season of light, and almost all of them bring us closer together with those we love. Whether it be the light of Christ’s love, the light from candles held by a menorah, the light from a yule log, or simply the light of a fire in a fireplace gather those you love close around you and cherish the time you have with them.