I flipped the calendar page last night before bedtime. I do this twelve times each year on each month’s last evening. When I saw the page for December, I realized how quickly the year has elapsed. It’s probably a safe bet that 2019 has been a mixed bag for everyone. We’ve experienced some harsh times and we’ve had some auspicious days, as well. Overall, it’s turning out to be another peculiar year.
“And last December drear,
With piteous low-drooped head,
In a voice of desolation
Crying out, “The year is dead!”
And so, with changeful gear,
With smile or frown or song,
The months, in strange variation,
Are ever gliding along.”
–Edgar Fawcett, “The Masque of Months,”
This is the month of the holiday season, which means many belief systems and religions celebrate special commemorations this month. I always buy “Season’s Greetings” or “Happy Holidays” cards to send out to family and friends because so many family members, friends, and acquaintances belong to various religions and a few of them belong to none.
Regardless of whether or not we embrace some sort of “faith tradition”, this is the time of the year that our civilization celebrates being alive. As I write this short blog post, I remember that the December Solstice has been the ancient “reason for the season” ever since prehistoric times. I wonder if the desire to celebrate and party in the wintertime has become part of our DNA.
By the way, this year’s December Solstice will happen on the 22nd at 04:19 UTC. Have you ever pondered the fact that the December Solstice marks the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and the longest day of the year in the Southern Hemisphere? I’ve often wondered how if feels to celebrate the holidays during very early Summer. My friends in Sydney, Australia tell me they have Santa Claus in winter garb and decorated Christmas trees. How many Santas suffer heatstroke in Australia in December? Wouldn’t it be more humane to allow Santa to dress in cargo shorts and a festive short-sleeved print shirt when he makes his rounds down under?
Meantime, here in the North, where most of the modern December holidays were invented, Santas who are wearing heavy coats and boots are dressed appropriately.
Here in Nebraska, we have frosty fields and lawns. Frequently, there is snow-cover on the ground as well. We bundle up in thick coats and sometimes actually use the hoods on our hoodies and parkas to keep our ears warm. Most adults gripe about the winter. Some Nebraskans wish the cold and snow could be restricted to Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. (I wonder why they only want snow during the most heavily trafficked time on the highways.) Meantime, little kids “get” December. Children are disappointed when the snow fails to fall.
“I started playing the guitar when we started filming the pilot to ‘Lost in Space,’ which was way back in December of 1964, and there’s a little bit in the pilot that was used in the first season where Will Robinson is sitting around some bad foam rubber rock playing and singing ‘Greensleeves.'”–Bill Mumy
Who doesn’t have special memories of December? There’s Christmas, Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Pancha Ganapati, HumanLight, Yule, Kwanzaa, and Saturnalia. I probably overlooked several others.
Meantime, December is our last chance to finish what we wanted to complete this year. At the most personal level, December is a good time to do something very good for yourself. We can be more reflective. We can contemplate about the people in our lives. December can be the time to mentally get to a better place. We can take a break from the hustle-bustle of the season and live more mindfully.
Today is the first day of the rest of the month and the year. Have a good December.
The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes Dr. Seuss. “How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”