With some time off, I find myself wanting to write an extra piece for the holiday. WInter isn’t quite here, but there are shorter days and longer nights. With less sunshine, more darkness and cold, it can sometimes be hard to remember brighter times. The holidays help, with the gathering of family and friends, yet there are still times when that absence of light starts to seem like a lack of hope. negative associations with winter. We may wonder if the weather will ever warm and if spring will come again.

fruit blossoms in sunlight

Yet, as I drive at night, the lights sparkle against night’s backdrop, each a single beacon. Each one, by itself, only brightens a small area, but many of them, make the world a clearer place, in spite of the dark. I think that’s part of why the interest in Christmas lights, as celebration and signposts that we are not alone even in the coldest, bitterest time of year.  

This year, the news seems darker than usual, filled with stories of death, corruption, mistreatment of people. Sprinkled throughout this news are stories of courage, generosity, the receipt of justice and joyful celebrations where people are shining a light in spite of dark times.  In some ways, hard times allow us to see what matters most, the bonds of family and friends, with shelter and food we can enjoy in peace and safety.  When the bad news is too much, when we feel most vulnerable, in many cases there is another person ready to help and share their bit of light.

Humans have been through harsh times and we are descendants of the survivors of those bad times. Somehow, we find a way to muddle through and even improve. For those in the US, a Happy Thanksgiving! For those outside the US, may your day be filled with many things to be thankful for.

Picture by J.T. Harpster, can be purchased at https://shellcreek.redbubble.com/