Interfaith: Festivals of Light- Hope to Light up Dark Days

December 3

November and December are dark months. I begin to think it is human to be a bit “sad” in the dark months evidenced by “festivals of light” celebrated around the world during this time of the year.

Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights was two weeks ago.  

Winter Solstice has been honoured for millennia by indigenous peoples and Celts who live close to the earth. In the Northern Hemisphere the shortest day of the year occurs every December and the days dependably and faithfully begin to lengthen after every winter solstice.  

Celebrating Winter Solstice is affirming my faith that dark days will give way again to light days, even as difficult and sad times give way to joyous times.

It can be argued that Christmas is the Christian festival of lights. Its December 25th date likely is connected historically with Winter Solstice. Whether or not people embrace the religious significance of Christmas, brightly coloured lights adorn our homes and streets, defying oppression and heaviness of spirits that often attend the long night hours.  

This week is Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. For eight days, a candle is lit on the menorah until all nine candles shine in the window of a Jewish home, a beacon of hope to the world even as it brings together families in warmth and joy in the home. Hanukkah is a celebration of the gift of strength through a difficult time as much as it is a celebration of the light of hope.

Everyone of us has a little candle of hope that burns in us through our darkest times. The light and the hope increase when we join our little light and stubborn hope with that of another. 

Gratitude Prompt: What lights up my life in these dark months? How do I practice self-care?