Winter Solstice Or Christmas?
Seasons greetings to you, my reader. Enjoy the end of the year and the return of the sun, albeit a slow return. We all, in our way, love this turnover point. My Irish star, one Terry Wogan, used to be jubilant as the shortest day passed. The sun is surely a god and so we are all pagans as regards the natural world. I love light and I never need to ask, winter Solstice or Christmas? Christmas is for other people.
Christmas highjacked the Neolithic worship of the solstice. Because religion is a foreign import, it does not reflect how it is here. For certain, the Middle East sits well south of us and does not experience the same seasons. Those early Christians lived in a desert environment and they were vulnerable to attack from people moving across the land mass. Here, on a large island, people were safer, were peaceable, were wet, were cold, were wet and cold. Consequently, they felt dryer and warmer as the sun rose. When spring swept in and a huge range of food appeared, they were elated. No wonder they created gods who linked them to the natural world.
We have to ask ourselves whether the Christian religion would have developed here. For certain, nobody could go out into a desert for 40 days. Moses might go up a mountain but he would never be seen again, having died of hypothermia. Our Eve would eat the apple, enjoy it and plant the pips; Adam didn’t believe in an apple a day. No babe would be born in a manger because everybody had a decent hut. The three kings would probably be shipwrecked crossing the stormy channel. People would have wrinkled their noses at frankincense after they got a whiff of that appalling odour.
Winter solstice or Christmas?
In other words, it’s the winter solstice for me, the lure of the rising sun. I am sure that you will enjoy your Middle Eastern Christmas, Chinese tinsel and cards, Lapland reindeer, German stollen, drawling foreign carols and Belgian chocolate. However, I shall stay true to our ancient peoples and I might even visit Stonehenge. Just in case the gods let me down, I have secured my own little glow of sunshine – three weeks in Lanzerote!