“Be the light!” is the tagline for the Psychic Teachers who host a popular show on Blog Talk Radio and an iTunes podcast. This simple phrase is both an invitation and a directive to carry one’s light into the world and to serve as an agent of change by dispelling darkness through acts of love and grace. These words remind us of who we truly are as human beings. We are more than our bank accounts, more than our job titles, more than our familial roles, and more than our possessions. We are pure love and pure spirit – in all ways “the light”- inhabiting bodies for a short time as we live on planet Earth.
The holiday season is a time for honoring the light. December 22, 2015 marks the Winter Solstice, often referred to as the longest night of the year. Pagans celebrate Yule on the solstice and practice rituals welcoming the return of the light. In the days following the Autumnal Equinox, the days grow gradually shorter until the Winter Solstice, after which the days become longer. This natural phenomenon has provided rich imagery for world religions which celebrate the light in unique ways.
The Jewish observance of Hanukkah during this time centers around a miracle. More than 21 centuries ago, the people of Israel were being persecuted by Syrian-Greeks who ruled the holy land. When a small band of Jews successfully drove the Greeks from the land and reclaimed the temple for God, they discovered that only a single-day supply of oil remained. Miraculously, that meager supply of olive oil lasted for 8 days. The tradition of lighting the menorah during this Festival of Lights (Hanukkah) has continued for centuries.
Christians (especially Roman Catholics) celebrate the season of Advent, the four Sundays before Christmas. The first Sunday of Advent marks the beginning of the Church year and is celebrated by lighting the first of four candles on the Advent wreath. Midnight Mass, officially the first Mass of the Christmas season (although the directives of the Church allow for a family Mass to be said on Christmas Eve) begins in total darkness. After the reading of the Christmas Proclamation, the scriptures recounting the birth of Jesus (Light of the World), the Pascal candle (which represents Christ) is lit. Individual candles held by members of the congregation are then lit from this single flame, flooding the church with light.
During African-American celebration of Kwanzaa, beginning on December 26, the seven candles of the kinara are lit to symbolize seven principles of African heritage: Unity, Self-Determination, Collective Work and Responsibility, Cooperative Economics, Purpose, Creativity, and Faith.
The symbolism of moving from darkness into the light can be found everywhere in our celebrations during this time of the year, from the lights on the Christmas tree to the burning of the Yule log. We adorn our homes with twinkling lights and even celebrate the New Year with a lighted ball, covered with Swarovski crystals, descending into Time Square. There is no better time for each of us to set our intention to bring this light into the world.
Although our personal religious and spiritual beliefs may differ greatly, each of us can relate to the power of light to overcome darkness and the power of love to overcome fear. Why not take some time this holiday season to commit to “Being the light”? We are a people of sign, symbol, and ritual. Observing this season with ritual can bring deeper meaning and significance to our celebrations. Consider speaking a commitment to bring more joy into the world and lighting a candle to represent that commitment. You might spend some time in darkness, meditating on what needs to be released, forgiven, or brought into the light. Take the time to write these things on a piece of paper and then burn them with sage as symbolic gesture of release and cleansing. Bake a birthday cake for the Baby Jesus and have each member of the family light a candle in gratitude for something God has done for them this year. There are countless ways to celebrate the light and dedicate oneself to bringing light, peace, joy, and goodness into the world. Blessings!
Join me for a FREE teleseminar to prepare for the New Year. Manifest a Brilliant 2016 will be held on Wednesday, December 30 from 6 to 7 PM PST. Register here.