Also Dwarves, Elves, Ents, Hobbits… maybe even Wizards. Most of them.
There are those who will go off into learned academic discussions about how the date for Christmas was actually borrowed from Mithraism or some other solstice-based celebration, given the whole “when shepherds watched their flocks by night” strongly implies lambing season, putting it more in the February to March timeframe.
Having been raised around sheep, I can state it’s not that simple. There’s a lot of variation in lambing between breeds, and two thousand years ago whatever they were watching near Bethlehem were probably something more like modern Finn sheep. Who just love freezing you in early winter making sure they lamb alright. (Usually they do.)
On an emotional level, though, I don’t think it matters when the actual Nativity was. The metaphor of a world lost in the darkness of sin implied by the fading winter sun, and hope reborn with the returning light, speaks volumes to the heart.
We need light this year, more than any year I can remember. And I remember Chernobyl.
I bring that up specifically because it echoes today. Chernobyl happened, among other reasons, because people in the Soviet Union cut corners, then cut more corners, to keep up an appearance of high status. Who needs all those extra alarms and concrete containment domes, they declared. The Americans are cowards, we’ll do the science right-
Only they didn’t, and thousands of people died. Far more than would have been killed by the initial exposure, because the USSR tried to cover it up as long as they could, until outside parties signaled the alarm.
(When your Scandinavian nuclear power plant checks are showing that people are less exposed to radiation inside the plant than outside, you know there’s a problem.)
For the past several decades, we’ve had people actively ripping out the safety measures of manners, civility, respect for traditions, morality, and faith. Our so-called cultural elites claim all those are pointless, they stop people from being “authentically themselves”. And besides, they never stop real criminals.
Maybe not. But they do make it easier for the vast majority of us who are not real criminals to live with each other. And there are some people you don’t want being their “authentic selves”. If I wrote or said everything that came through my head, I’d probably be in jail somewhere. My authentic self is not nice.
Civilized, I can manage. But only because I strive to be better than my “authentic self”.
My head is a realm of shadows. I just keep walking toward daybreak.
Today we celebrate a Light returning to the world. No matter how dark it seems, keep walking.