I grew up Unitarian Universalist, in a Northeastern (USA) community. After Thanksgiving, as the days grew darker and shorter, and the temperature grew colder, we would begin to decorate the house and count down the days to Christmas. In those days, the 1960’s TV shows taught us that Santa was coming down our chimney, and, that Jesus was born on December 25th, in a manger, in Bethlehem.
I don’t recall going to Christmas Eve church service on a regular basis as a child. I just remember decorating the tree. I loved the way the tree looked when we got it all decorated, and I loved how it smelled to have evergreens in the house.
As I write this, I realize how deeply personal these holiday celebrations are for families. These celebrations are laced with family stories which contain sorrows and joys. As a child, (and an emphatic one at that,) I knew there were family sorrows, but didn’t know what they were, because they weren’t spoken of. Now that I am older, each year, I learn more about that aspect of my growing up. I understand more about why my mom acted the way she did each December: She would pretend she didn’t want to make a big deal out of Christmas each year, but secretly, she loved every bit of Christmas.
And I’ve come to realize I’m the same way, but without the sorrows. For years, I’ve tried to convince myself, that I don’t want to make a big fuss about Christmas. But you know what? I love it. I love putting up the tree, and the decorations. I love collecting shells and things and making decorations out of them. I love sitting in the living room with all the lights out except the tree’s and just enjoying the glow.
I love teasing gift ideas out of my dear family. I love locating gifts. I love wrapping gifts. I love opening gifts.
And these days, I love celebrations with friends. The CUUPS group at my local UU Church usually holds Solstice celebrations, and I love to gather with everyone in the evening and sit out on the porch and sing the Solstice Songs. My favorite one is, We are, by Ysaye M. Barnwell , a member of the group, Sweet Honey in the Rock, and it goes , “For each child that’s born/ a morning star rises and sings / to the universe who we are /… / We are our grandmothers prayers / we are our grandfathers dreamings / we are the breath of the ancestors / we are the spirit of God…”
And then, a few days later it is Christmas Eve. My Husband and I attend the service at the UU Church and sing Joy to the World and Silent Night. This is my Church Family, it is a small community and I love these people. After that, we go home, eat something — next year, it will be my turn to cook — and then we go back out later in the evening and attend his church. It’s bigger and more christian, and there are more people.
There’s an awesome pipe organ and organist. we sing the same songs, but the pipe organ infuses the songs into me. It is powerful and awe inspiring and I love that experience of feeling the songs, best of all.
Savor the Peace of the Holiday Season, Dear Ones, for as long as you can.
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Although the Earthways Shamanic Path is based in Florida, it can be celebrated anywhere. You just need to explore the magic of your land. What is it saying to you? What are the seasons, where you live? What do they mean to you? How are they celebrated?
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