Today is December 20th. Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice. Ironically, the Winter Solstice is a bigger deal to me than the Summer Solstice. The shortest day of the year is tomorrow. Beginning the next day, the sun will rise a little earlier and set a little later. Even though the cold weather is just beginning, I look forward to the promise of longer and warmer days.
We chose this time of year to celebrate “the holidays” precisely because of this lack of light. Evergreens were brought into homes to ward off evil spirits, bring health, and as a symbol of life. Why in the winter? Because that’s when we need it the most.
One of the ironies of the holidays is that while it’s supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, for many people, it’s just the opposite. If you have SAD (seasonal affective disorder triggered by a lack of light), this is a tough time of year to endure. The expectation of being joyous puts pressure on us that can lead to the exact opposite. Financial stress brought about by going into debt to give gifts robs of us of the unadulterated thrill of being a child this time of year.
As a child, I knew exactly how many days there were until Christmas since at least Thanksgiving. A couple of days ago, I was surprised to find out that Christmas is this Sunday, not next Sunday. Yesterday someone asked me if I was “Ready for Christmas.” “Yeah. Sure. No? Am I supposed to get ready? I don’t know.”
What I look forward to is spending time with Kayla. There are no more Christmas breaks for her. So, it’s not an extended time like it used to be. But we’ll see her, for sure. It’s going to be insanely cold. No matter. I have nowhere to be.
Frankly, I’ve struggled just getting this post written. Writer’s block is never an issue for me. I can usually sit down and crank out posts, newsletter email articles, whatever. But today, I find myself just dragging. I had put this away in a draft to finish later. I was going to move on to something else when I saw someone posted on Facebook, “Christmas is five days away, and I’ve never felt less Chrismassy in my life.”
I feel ya, brother. And, you know what? It’s OK. It’s all good. This is the dark, cold time of the year. This is the time when the trees are resting. I used to tell the girls the trees sleep in the winter when they lose their leaves. This is the time the bears are hibernating. Nature slows down. We can too.
It’s Tuesday. Christmas is Sunday. I’m going to take it slow for the rest of the week. I’ve left my office and am on the couch working on my laptop with my feet up. The sun is shining, a rarity this time of year in Ohio. I’m grateful for that.