The Ghost of Christmas Past just sat down with me this morning, so I’ve decided to entertain him for a while. He brought back memories of Christmas plays…of church ladies making costumes and shepherds wearing bathrobes and kids saying the wrong lines and carols sung off-key. It swirls around me in a maelstrom of glitter and goodwill toward men…and it’s not even December yet.
He shows me a picture of myself in a white angel robe with a scratchy, lopsided silver garland halo…and a look of indifference on my face. I was five years old, and I did not want to be an angel.
Had I been given a choice in the matter, I probably would have chosen to be a shepherd, but only boys were given that role. They got to carry staffs, and all they had to do was look surprised when they heard about Jesus and show up later at the manger. As a choir angel, I had to try to look like one of the heavenly host and sing like I meant every word. So I lip synced.
This part of Christmas was an enigma, and I was rebelling in the only way I knew how. I wasn’t sure why we had to reenact this event and look with adoration upon a plastic baby in a makeshift barn. The Christmas Story just didn’t seem plausible to me, even as a youngster.
Years later, I learned that people were celebrating Winter Solstice long before Jesus made his debut on earth and that the story of his birth was one of several mythological tales of divinity becoming incarnate. So the idea of Christ or Christos became something of a symbol for higher consciousness…the part of us that is always in contact with the One…the Tao…the Spirit…the Force or whatever name you give it. I could wrap both my mind and heart around this idea, which eventually helped me to relax and realize that churches are honoring this, too, in their own way. Although they may not recognize it, they are even honoring the Divine Feminine in the form of Mary, as she holds her infant son.
The old familiar story finally had meaning. I could tie the loose ends of my Christmas past with my Solstice present, creating an intertwining bow that decorates the gift of my life.
On December 22, pagans all over the world will celebrate the Winter Solstice, the return of the sun. We will stand in circles, light our candles, and feel the warmth of a Yule log. As we welcome the light back into the world, we also welcome our inner light, our higher selves, to shine ever brighter in the darkness. May it always be so. Blessed Be.