“Fake Christmas Tree” by Ursula Vernon, ©2012. Image courtesy of the artist, attribute, please, and respect her intellectual property or be gnawed by Bob the Hamster.
When I was a kid, holidays were difficult, in that, with the notable and amusing exception of Kwanzaa, every holiday is a doppleganger to a pagan festival. Pretty much anytime I got to into one holiday or another, someone was there to remind me that I was celebrating paganism. If I wanted to hunt for eggs or have an Easter basket? Pagan holiday, what was I thinking. Halloween? Oh, don’t even go there (which is fine – I’m more about costuming and running around INDOORS or in the summertime). Christmas is almost okay, but Jesus wasn’t born in December, what would shepherds be doing outside? And those pagans with their solstice get you again. And Santa can be changed into Satan all too easily.
Yeah. People laughed at Dana Carvey’s version of “The Church Lady” on Saturday Night Live all those years ago. While my family certainly never outright said stuff like this to me, I KNEW people who had that level of difficult in terms of …well, everything.
And yet, I have much love for the name of this Roman – indubitably pagan – holiday to come. Sol Invictus – the invincible sun. The holiday on the 25th is Dies natalis solis Invicti – the birthday of the invincible, or unconquerable sun.
I imagine it as a celebration of the grace of summer’s return – every year. The joy that the sun may go away, as the days shorten – especially in those dark days in Britain – whatever were they thinking, conquering somewhere so dreich and cold?? – and that bitter cold may reign, but only for a short time. The sun will return. Life will come again.
If that’s not a good reason to celebrate, I don’t know what is -! Add a baby to the mix, with all the metaphoric symbolism, a lantern that doesn’t run out of oil for eight days — light, life — all festivals align.
Whatever you celebrate in your heart, I salute you. I salute the sun – soon may it return! I salute the son of Light – soon may He return.