One of the things I like best about our "hood" here is the deep well of history and rituals, personal and communal, that are shared; they serve as a bond to bring us closer; yet at the same time, widen our horizons. I am touched by the interfaith experiences that have been posted, believing that understanding, compassion and giving are what celebrating the birth of Jesus is all about. Many holidays we celebrate today may have been "borrowed" from earlier traditions that predate modern faiths. I believe Chanukah and Christmas to be examples.
It is interesting that when the days ahead are the shortest of the year, we light candles, increasing one daily for the next 8 nights in celebration, bringing a little bit of this lost light back into our world. We still have a few more longer days of darkness before this cycle shifts and, as with a bud about to blossom, more light is thus given us for growth and opening up. Akin to lighting Christmas trees, first with candles and then with bulbs, there is a deep need during this time of year to bring more light into our world.
Shortcake and I hope you will all gather the light around you, finding it in the joy and blessings that shine through the clouds of misfortune, the darkness of misunderstanding or the void of lessened hope, and fill these days of waiting with your own inner-light. All of us have much to be thankful for even in the darkest of days and we all have the power to make our lives, and the lives of those around us, a little bit lighter and brighter, until God, once again, grants us longer days and shorter nights.
With many thanks for your light and brightness, jb