It’s interesting how the messages and symbolism at this time of the year rapidly move away from those celebrating the birth of Christ back towards more spiritual and pagan ones celebrating the start of the New Year. Maybe there’s a new religion of wokeism which is being forced upon us so we (in the West) are all trying so hard to be more inclusive and less tribal. It has certainly gotten me thinking about what it’s all about…
Sometimes we forget that Advent is the start of the Christian calendar. Christianity picked up and absorbed many pagan rituals when it was being designed to be scaled up and rolled-out across the Roman Empire in the early years of the first Millennium. The iconic symbol of Mother-and-Child is central to the Christmas message and has almost been trademarked by the Christian church. Yet we have so many other symbols used at this time of the year….
For the Northern Hemisphere, the 21st Dec is the shortest day of the year, when our ancestors before us breathed a sigh of relief as the days start to get longer. The Egyptians worshipped the Sun God Ra and put the Sun at the centre of their belief system and lights and candles remain powerful metaphors for a new light of renewal through the dark days of winter. (And although those middle-class folks in the Southern Hemisphere might celebrate the middle of their summer with barbecues they always seem to be up for a party whatever the time of the year!)
Janus heads up the Roman Calendar and has two heads. He was the Roman god of beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, frames, and endings. He is usually depicted as having two faces. Looking backwards and forwards at the same time.
And then we have all the other symbols picked up from Siberian shamans, such as reindeer and flying sledges – probably all dreamt up by someone high under the influence of a narcotic plant.
Add to that Father Christmas and his red-and-white image pushed by CocaCola, Holly, Ivy, Carol singing, Turkey (unless you do that at Thanksgiving), Christmas Puddings, Mince pies, boundless supplies of sweets and alcoholic beverages and we have a right-royal mash-up marketing material to make us all over-indulge and reconnect with friends and family (with all the stresses and strains that it brings to make a “Perfect Christmas”).
So, I expect most people believe in one way or another that this time of year is one of renewal and re-connection, even if you are not religious.
If you believe in the Son, Happy Christmas, and for the rest, have a Joyous New Year as the Sun brings more light into your life!
And if none of this resonates, it’s a good time of the year to reflect on what has passed and what the future might hold and be truly amazed that we all exist on the leading edge of life. It’s also good to be grateful for all the things that the earth offers up to us and for the love we can give and receive to sustain our future on planet earth.
Love & Light, Lorne