December 20, 2002 Features & Images » Feature Story

Feature - Solstice 

The Standing-still Sun and the Solstice Fairy

It’s Christmas again. It’s hard to miss the hysterical build-up – the decorations were out as soon as Halloween was in the candy-bag. Even so, it stretches belief that the year’s end is imminent. This is the sign that I am getting older, saying banal things like , Wow, this year has gone really fast. Is it December already ?

The girl in me who doesn’t like to be told what to do digs her heels in at Christmas. All the messages indicate a buying trend – a shopping frenzy, of gifts, and lights, and themed decorations, and foodstuffs. Larders spill over, credit cards get worked and trash cans will bulge on the 26 th with wrapping paper, leftovers from overmounded plates. More stuff. And this to celebrate the birth of an itinerant carpenter who went empty-handed into the world to take his message.

Somewhere, amidst the hectic calendars, focused shopping expeditions, juggling of family arrangements and stress-fairies, aren’t we all hoping for a bit more meaning? For some spiritual sustenance, even if this is not a religious holiday of significance for us?

"Well, what are you so miserable about?"

"Miserable? That’s harsh. I just think Christmas is a bit of a farce. People spending money they don’t have on items nobody needs, while homeless people are fighting for somewhere to shelter. Chopping down trees. Did you know at the Rockefeller Centre, they purposely chop down Norwegian spruce that are almost 100 feet tall each year for Christmas because it’s breathtaking for the shoppers? This year, the cities of Newport Beach, California and Miami, Florida are contesting each other over the tallest, with trees clocking in at close to 115 feet tall. I mean, imagine how breathtaking that tree was when it was alive, and in the forest? Anyway, who are you?"

"I’m the spirit of solstice."

"Oh. Like the Ghost of Christmas Past? Someone took a vote and I was nominated as the Scrooge of the decade?"

"No. Nothing like that. You wished me here."

"I did?"

"Yeah, in the third paragraph there – ‘ aren’t we all hoping for a bit more meaning?’ That’s what I’m here for, your crash course in the true meaning of Christmas. So let’s start with what you think Christmas means."

"Umm, okay… family. Food. Gift giving. A tree. Christmas lights. I guess if you want to look beneath those traditions, it starts with Jesus."

"Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Those traditions go back way before Jesus."

"Now, you’re piquing my interest."

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