As we all celebrate the brilliance of our modern Christmas season, a portion of the strength I pull from this time of year comes from something deeper, more ancient. I am taken back to an archaic time, time before Christmas or even Saturnalia. A time whose traditions shine through other celebrations like Hanukah and the Norse traditions of Yule. I go back to a time where we as a people were at our most primitive state. Where life was more physical, more vulnerable, and we had no conveniences such as lights, or heating, or well chairs.
This time was a very new time for us, and we began to form our first traditions and build a diverse global culture. During these times, in this season, the hunting was slowing, the berries were gone, the land laid ensconced in ice and the darkness at night seemed endless. Man’s answer to this bleakness was one of hope. Someone; man, woman, or child first raised up a flame as a symbol of the brightness and warmth yet to come again in the spring, and our friends and families found happiness in the simple act of togetherness around the swirling crackle of a well-primed fire. I don’t know what they called this celebration, if anything at all, but I know we share an instinctual imprint of these early times in common still today, warmth from fire and the fondness of others we hold close.
This season, please have a Merry Christmas, a Happy Pancha Ganapati, or celebrate in your own tradition. With this time I ask you to light a candle with someone, sing a song, tell a story, or just watch the flame. For in this act you reach back to your beginnings, bonding with all those who have come before, and carry on for all those who will come after.