Courtesy of Linnea Pergola

Festive Time:
by Joshua Parkinson

The holidays are a festive time, a time of joyous celebration of life in the bleak cold of winter, or the oppressive heat of summer. For those in the northern hemisphere, the sun will soon begin to reverse it's shrinking presence each day and begin its slow edging once again towards the longer days of summer.

In the dead of chilling winter, this has always been a time of hope, a time to raise moral. It is a time to celebrate the cycle and the winter solstice. Even today the turning of the sun provides a time to celebrate.

Amid this depressive time of darkness, as the freezing chill chases us into our homes, when we dread the prospect of trudging out into the cold to go to work every morning, a celebration become more important. If it isn't, it should be, because this is a time we need it most, a time nearing the turn of the winter. Even with food on our tables and warmth in our homes, the lack of oh-so-important sunlight takes its toll on our emotional states as the daylight shrinks and dims.

What better time to welcome jubilation and light! It may not be easy, but grab ahold of this time and celebrate! And bring those lights into our homes, along our streets, and framing our buildings, trees, and bushes! Whether they be candles or strings of electric lights, welcome them! And finally, embrace the good cheer and generosity that all this entails!

1. Imagine you are at a grand holiday party, anywhere, anytime, any reason. Who is there, what are you doing? What is the place like? Is the party on christmas eve at the north pole? Or a festive party with your ancestors? Or is it right here, right now? Don't let reality constrain you. Feel free to let your imagination run wild. Maybe your guests aren't all from this time or place. Maybe they aren't even human, or not even real! But if you wish to keep it to reality, go ahead! Maybe you can take this time to plan a festive christmas party that will actually happen.

2. Imagine yourself full of cheer and generosity. Imagine that you have no troubles, no pains, no limitations. Imagine that the world was open to you and you could do anything. Now imagine that you were filled with a great need to give or help. This feeling is brimming over your entire being, bursting to get out and be expressed. You need to give some kind of joy to someone, or to the entire world. Your creativity is running wild. You have an ecstatic energy and anticipation like child at before his presents, only the presents are filled with the things that will bring great joy to others, and you are edging to find out what they are. Open a box, what is revealed to you? What do you do to satisfy this great urge to bring joy to someone, a group, or to the world? What idea pops out from that beautifully wrapped package that you have all the possibilities to make a reality? How do you do it?

And during this festive time, lights are everywhere. Light has always fascinated man with the notion of the magical. The twinkling of stars, the sparkle of gems and metals, the great discovery of fire! Fire has probably held the longest and most impacting element in the mythic and ritual mind of mankind all the way to the present.

1. Write how some kind of light or fire has impacted you life. Does any of it hold some sentimental place in your heart? Does any remind you of a time from your past?

2. Write a story behind a light or fire. Where did it come from? How did it come to be? Is there a story behind strings of lights? Is fire more than it appears?

3. Before a Christmas dinner or feast, write a poetic prayer. It can be for or about anything you wish. Hide it beneath a candle-stick holder with a candle that will be lit during dinner. No one has to know its there, or everyone can, its up to you. During dinner imagine that lit candle is for that prayer, it is that prayer itself among you, glowing, and being fed by all those around the meal. Imagine the prayer is a light before you all during that meal. When dinner is done, and the candle put out, imagine that the whisps of smoke rising up and dissipating into the air is that prayer being sent off into the world to lend its energies to life.