Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holy Night

Oh Holy Night
The stars are softly shining
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth
Long lay the world in sin and error pining
Till he appeared and the soul felt its worth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
As yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Fall on your knees!
Oh hear the angel voices
Oh Night Divine
Oh night when Christ was born
Oh night divine

One thing that having animals does for me is that it makes me go outside when otherwise, I would stay huddled inside. Last night was one of those nights. I fed the sheep and chickens and changed their water under blazing stars on the longest night of the year. In the crisp, quiet cold, under the clear stars, I couldn't help but feel the sacredness of the moment. And I couldn't help but think of all the people in the Northern Hemisphere who celebrate this time of year in one way or another and all that combined energy that makes this cold, dark night so sacred.

Whether or not you believe in Jesus and whether or not you believe he was born, one thing is for sure, the biblical account of his birth did not happen in December. There would be no shepherds out with their flocks in December. Shepherds stay with their flocks in the spring during lambing season and when the lambs are small. Yet the birth of the Son is celebrated at this time of year when for us in cold places, when our Earth begins its journey back to the Sun.

For me, the natural world is sacred. It is there that I have had my spiritual experiences and there that I find the symbolism that sustains me. And to me, with my ENFP brain that sees connections in everything, in that cold night as I walked slowly back to the house under bright stars, I couldn't help but see parallels. For Christians Christ was born to end the dark night of sin - of separation from God. In the New Testament He proclaims himself as the Light and the Way. In my own anticipation of the rebirth of the sun and the return of longer days, warmth, gardening and the beach, I felt a deep excitement for the birth of the Sun anew. I couldn't help but see deeper and think of the 'dark night of the soul'. And think of how each of us when we dare to face the dark and the cold within ourselves and heal old patterns are also born again into the light. For me this has also been a cycle - not as regular as the the Sun's return every year and not as dramatic as the birth of Christ. Yet, for me, as significant and the journey I am on - to see myself and to love and accept myself. And to enter into that place is to enter into the Sun or the Son. Its all the same to me.

And so this song that I started my post with came to mind and I sang it as I walked back to the house and it seemed loaded with just the kind of parallel symbolism that was going through my mind.

1 comment:

Laura said...

i have the same kinds of spiritual feelings when out in nature. and also think about this time of year and the symbolism of darkness and light.