We are a very short week away from Christmas Day! We here at CFET celebrate the birthday of Jesus of Nazareth with our Christian brothers and sisters. We welcome all of our brothers and sisters into the peacefulness of this time, whether you celebrate the day or not. It is a time for family, for telling stories, for making new memories, for celebrating each other in some way. In the midst of this last week of blurred activity, we hope you can pause to reflect on the beauty and grace of this time of year.
The winter solstice occurs around this time, the shortest day of the year, when the darkness of night swallows up the day as much as it ever can. But the winter solstice also marks the turning, again, of our part of the globe toward the day, as the light lasts longer with each passing day. The winter will become more intense, with the ground growing ever harder, and the snow blanketing our gardens and fields. We might be tempted to think that the cold and hardness of winter have the last word. But we know better! We know that darkness comes before light. That the depth of a winter’s night is overcome with the brightness of a winter morning! Is this hope? A hope in winter, for new life!?
The 13th century Persian poet, Rumi, speaks of the ground of our hope in darkness and winter not having the last word.
“Don’t think the garden loses its ecstasy in winter. It’s quiet, but the roots are down there riotous.” – Rumi
What a beautiful reminder that much is going on, underground, away from sight, in the depths of the earth. Power is being stored, made ready for its emergence in spring, to provide us with beauty and nourishment. The life of spring comes after the darkness and cold of winter. The Winter solstice is a marker of that hope.
It should not be a surprise that the early Christians chose the winter solstice as the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. For the Christian, the infant child embodies the hope that God would be faithful to God’s promises. Just as the winter solstice reminds us that spring will come, so might we consider Christmas to be a similar reminder, that life emerges from death, that spring comes from winter, that a smile can replace a frown.
We at CFET hope that your Winter Solstice, however you celebrate it, may be a time of renewed hope, a time to re-commit yourselves, or commit yourselves for the first time, to be a bearer of hope, to give flesh to the irresistible and irrevocable energy of earth as it prepares for a riotous spring. There is much to do, and much to discover. May you have the joy of opening up the gifts of earth, prepared for you from the first moment of creation.
Support CFET! Remember us at the end of the year! Our work depends on your generosity. Partnering with us in celebrating the power and beauty of the earth and its abundance is an act of hope. Let’s be riotous in our hopefulness!
President Emeritus, CFET Board