I love this time of year. We could easily argue about how the Church superimposed Christmas over the Pagan celebration of the solstice to help with their conversion to Christianity, but that’s part of what’s delightful about this holiday. Because of their efforts a few centuries ago, today we have a holiday season that all people, Christian and Pagan alike, can get behind. Unfortunately because they aren’t exactly the same, there are those out there who perceive a “War on Christmas” (atheists and Pagans trying to extinguish Christmas) and those who perceive a total cultural subjugation (Christians stealing the solstice from the Pagans…which happened awhile ago, and yet we still have our holiday as long as we choose to celebrate it). Neither viewpoint is the full truth, but they aren’t wrong, either. What it comes down to is that instead of celebrating our similarities and coming together in the spirit of the season, we have individuals who are afraid and divisive—afraid that their spirituality is either wrong or going to go away, afraid that their ways are no longer relevant, or afraid of losing their cultural identity. They are divisive in trying to maintain their identity, trying to clearly define the boundaries and claim traditions as their own, not willing to accept that they may be shared.
I think these attitudes come from anxiety. People who are secure in who they are and where they come from have no reason to be afraid that someone else may celebrate the same way they do but for different reasons. They can embrace the similarities and differences without it impacting who they are as a person, or member of a faith group. It doesn’t undermine their philosophies. If anything they see these similarities as giving their philosophy more strength.
This is true for Wicca. The Church may have superimposed Christmas onto the solstice, but the symbols and myths have remained. The celebration of Christ’s Mass has not lost its Pagan roots, which demonstrates that those aspects of Paganism have meaning for people that transcends history, religion, and culture. They are unifying for us as human beings. For all of us, Christian and Pagan, this is a time to celebrate the return of the sun/son, the return of light and with it life, abundance, and hope. It is a time to come together, help each other through the darkness, and come out stronger on the other side. It is a time to be generous and bring our own light and love into the world.
Now is a great time of year to set aside our differences. If you are invited to someone’s holiday celebration, be it a party or church services, feel free to go, there are no restrictions in Wicca against going to another kind of celebration. Bring joy, mirth, and reverence wherever you go.
This year I have lots of holiday plans. My husband’s family’s Christmas get together is this Saturday. Sunday our coven is having a ritual and gift-exchange. Somewhere in there I’m going to see my brother and sister in law. I am working Christmas Eve night, which means I will get off work Christmas morning and my husband and I will exchange gifts with his mother and brothers. The next day is my birthday. What a time to celebrate! A time for light, love, and laughter.
I wish you and yours a very merry and blessed solstice this season.