December arrives, with its unique forms of busy-ness and expectations, and I invite you to give yourself time to contemplate this season from as many perspectives as you can. To contemplate means to observe deeply, with focused attention. Perhaps what I’m suggesting is something different – not merely to think about in order to categorize, but to feel – to know by feeling. Maybe ponder is a better word than contemplate. What is this season, for you? What makes a difference? Winter, darkness, lights, Christmas, Solstice, rain or snow, fog, solitude, celebrations, rest?
It is a season of holidays / holy days – each with particular insights to offer – Hannukah, Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Divali, and others. It is a season on this particular part of the earth – of rain and fog, sometimes of cold and ice, of geese and owls, of bare trees and mud, of creeks full and running fast. It is sadly, still, a season of struggle and strife, here and in so many other places. Of all these insights and occurrences, what nurtures you? What is hard for you? What helps you remember what you are part of?
There’s lots of talk about giving, of course – especially from those who depend on this season to make as much money as they can. “Give our things” they say, and we too easily believe that consumerism is a source of happiness. We know the limits of that habit. What if we could make this a season of generosity more than just of “giving”?