So many of us have a hard time with holidays. And while there are countless reasons for this difficulty, I think a lot of it has to do with an ancient, inherited need to mark the passing, to celebrate the arrival of massive, universal shifts--light to dark, warm to cold, one year to the next. At our roots, we are creatures who respond to light, to warmth, to cool darkness. We age and shift, grow tired and sleep, awake with the light, and draw ourselves outdoors with the first scent of snow, the first birdsong of spring, the first hint of mud and thaw.
This, because we are--for better, for worse--creatures of language and hierarchy, has been appropriated by religion and commerce. True, those institutions offer structure and warmth, company and leadership, a tradition all their own. But there is something older here, something ageless, something *necessary,* despite who brings the light, despite what night we celebrate, despite the language.
That--no matter what your other portals of grace may be--is essential to truly draw down the light, to truly mark the passage of another year, another harvest, another chance to grow with the coming season and sleep well with the coming cold.