I'd like to wish all the best of the season's greetings to those reading this blog. However you celebrate it, and for whatever reason, I'm sending my blessings to you this midwinter. Woot! The sun is coming back! We have tinsel and slightly longer days; not to mention a dram or two in the glass.
Here is my favourite 'carol' to give us a little background music. I know it's this time of year whenever I hear it.
As a Pagan, my own festivities are with the Winter Solstice. But this Sabbat chimes with the Christmas celebrations going on all around me, so that works too.
I didn't think I'd be doing much this year. I'd obviously be joining my family for Christmas Eve and Day, but otherwise there would be articles to write. I even mumbled a quick apology to Arianrhod, in advance, that I'd probably spend Yule working. I was wrong.
On December 20th, one of my closest friends paid me a surprise visit and stayed for a couple of days. We feasted, drank and swapped gifts, as is traditional at this time of year. More importantly, we chatted and put our respective worlds to rights. It was good for both of us and laden with peace and goodwill.
The Wiccan Yule is also a time for reflection - looking back over the last year and our lives in general - musing in relaxation and without censure. It helps us know where we are and highlights where we wish to be. It's a review and a sinking of deep roots. It's a kindness to ourselves; as well as a lovely and fundamentally vital period of down time in an otherwise hectic year.
My friend and I did this. We toured all of our old haunts and looked at photographs, remembering the past in laughter and one or two good tears. We shared our stories, as we recalled them, collectively piecing together our memories. It was both fun and a necessary retracing of our steps. Most of all, it reminded us that we'd once been in situations that had appeared insurmountable and the end of the world. A decade or two later, we'd not only survived, but could look back in fondness for the people we'd been, the people we were and the people we would one day become.
Once he had returned home, it was time to move from the Paganism into the Christianity of my family (without, it must be said, much in the way of discernible difference). There was still the tinsel and the tree; there is the music and the memories; there's the food, the drink and the sharing.
Christmas Eve is traditionally the Grand Tour of my extended family. My parents and I moved from house to house, always greeted with an open armed welcome. Drinks were pressed into our hands after the hugs; food filled our plates. Some of these people I only saw last week. One or two, I only see at Christmas. It was great! The conversation flowed (until some idiot puts the bloody telly on, which instantly shifts me from partial deafness into full deafness and counts me out of any further participation), catching up on each other's lives, laughing, joking, reaffirming the close bonds that bring us together.
Today is Christmas Day. It began, as they always do, with my Dad bouncing around like Tigger. I love how excited he is by the whole festival. He burst into my room just after 8am with a hearty, "He's been!" Santa Claus had indeed been. I had a pile of presents waiting for me downstairs, alongside those of my parents. We opened them in ooooohs and thanks.
Now I'm catching up with my on-line friends (and cyber family). Several fora have my contribution in cheers and season's greetings. There's such a great atmosphere everywhere.
Later it will be nuclear family time. I'll be travelling to my brother's house to engage in more hugs, gifts, drinking and feasting. No doubt I'll wind up being very merry by midnight tonight.
How are you spending your Midwinter? Season's greetings in love to you all.