There! I said it!
There have been harvest feasts like Thanksgiving since way before Europeans stumbled into North America. Likewise spring celebrations of rebirth and fertility.
Winter festivals probably began shortly after folks figured out that the days stop getting shorter and start getting longer on the winter solstice. Religions hang their banners on these astronomically and agriculturally significant dates because lives really did depend on figuring out when it was safe to plant or about time to hunker down for a lean season.
I love the lights, the candles, the symbols of various faiths that celebrate stories that have comforted and guided groups of people for centuries.
Call me an atheist softy–my spiritual feelings revolve around nature rather than organized religion–but I think it’s important to stop the tumble of our daily lives to express gratitude, and love and wonder at the continuous unfolding of the universe.
Here’s to the best of our faiths and philosophies rising to the surface in the dark midwinter.