Thursday, December 23, 2010

Two pounds of tuna. 7 whole trout. 20 fillets of wahoo...and a sumatra in an orange tree!   We are swimming in fresh caught fish and citrus this holiday week thanks to dear friends and fishermen.  One of the definite perks of coastal living.  It is a lifestyle I far too often take for granted.

For example, I write this post sitting in a T-shirt on a porch in 70 degree weather in late December. Jealous?  Don't be.  There is something to be said about a roaring fire on a white Christmas.  Oh, but I am grateful.    

Grateful is a such a humble word that is easily said, but how often to do we truly feel grateful?  It is so easy to get wrapped up in what we can't afford during the holidays.  So easy to take for granted all that we have.  It seems this time of year people complain about being stressed, and for what reason?  What is the reason for the season?  

The winter solstice.  Which this year coincided with a full lunar eclipse...the first time in over 300 years.   It is the day of the year when there is the least amount of sunlight, and darkness reigns.  The original pagan holiday that celebrated the solstice was called The Day of the Unconquered Sun.   After the solstice, the sun returns and days once again grow longer. The winter solstice occured on December 25th on the Roman calendar adopted by Julius Ceasar, but by today's calendar, which is a little shorter, the solstice is usually on December 21st.

The Bible never specifies the actual date of Jesus's birth, and it was orginally celebrated on many different days by various sects of Christians, but most honored Jesus's birthday on January 6th, Three Kings Day.  It was moved to the 25th of December sometime in between 350 and 360 AD in order to reign in the Sun worshipers under the rule of the Christian empire.  

Some of the other gods throughout history that share the 25th as a birthday include:  Mithras (who celebrated a virgin birth on this day long before Jesus), Bacchus, Adonis, Krishna, Indra, and Osiris...just to name a few.  The winter solstice is a popular birthday amongst deities.  The gifts under the Christmas tree, mistletoe, and yule log...anything evergreen...were honored on December 25th originally to celebrate the death and resurrection of the God Osiris, also known as Nimrod. 

The winter solstice has always been celebrated throughout the millenia by feast and fire, and Christmas is no different.  Whether it be the Sun God, or the Son of God people have celebrated December 25th to show their gratitude for the perseverance of light through darkness.

This year my younger brother will be joining us for the holiday.  It is the first time I will have seen him since his return from Afganistan in September, and for that I am deeply grateful.  I can't wait to toast a big fat glass of Bordeaux to him and then sink my teeth into a perfectly cooked standing rib roast.

I think I am going to start a new tradition this holiday.  I am going to light a candle in honor of gratitude, to shed a little light on the true meaning of the holiday.  Like ancient people, we need to celebrate light more...sunlight, the light within us...heck I am grateful as hell for electricity!  We take so much for granted as Americans, and we all should take a moment this holiday and remember not what we want for Christmas, but what we already have.


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