Trent Ernst, Editor
15 more days until Christmas. The most popular, but certainly not the only, mid-winter celebration on the North American Calendar.
It is at this time that Christians choose to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the one they claim as Messiah.
At the same time, today marks the mid-point of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah wanders about the Gregorian Calendar (the one most commonly used here in North America), starting on Kislev 25 of the Hebrew Calendar.
The eight day celebration commemorates the victory of the Israelites over the Syrian Greek army during the time of the Maccabean revolution.
Just a few days before Christmas, and a few days after the end of Hannukah is the winter solstice, marking the shortest day of the year.
Here in Tumbler Ridge, the sun will rise at 9:29 on Monday, December 21, and will set at 4:29, a scant seven hours of daylight.
The next day will be one second longer, and by the time Christmas roles around, the day will be 25 seconds longer than the shortest day of the year.
It marks the long journey back to spring, but, winter solstice is celebrated by many cultures.
In Eastern Europe, they used to celebrate Koliada, a pagan celebration of the rebirth of the sun, while elsewhere in Europe they celebrated Yule.
Persians celebrate Yalda, the longest and darkest night of the year, while the Chinese celebrate Dongzhi on winter solstice.
Dongzhi is tied to the concept of balance; beyond this point, the days get longer and therefore there will be an increase in the positive energy flowing in.
Heaven make it so, as the last few months have seen a marked increase in negative energy. Not just events like Paris, like San Bernadino, but in the discussions around these events.
You can’t take but one step to find someone else using the event to launch some sort of rant pushing some sort of agenda. The pro-gun faction argues that if only someone had been concealed carrying, this event would have been mitigated, while the anti-gun faction argues that if it wasn’t so easy to access guns in the first place, things like this would never happen.
And don’t get me started on the whole revelation that the shooters were Muslim. The level of hate that has been poured out by people around San Bernadino and Paris has been breathtaking, with respected church leaders proclaiming from the pulpit for members to take up arms.
Heck, even Christmas itself has become a source of divisiveness, with people saying “Merry Christmas” with the same level of intensity as if they were saying “Screw You.” Which, come to think of it, they probably are. Happy Holiday? Up yours. I’m having a Merry Christmas instead.
Here we are in a time that is supposed to be about families, about sharing, about being kind and good and loving and all I’m seeing is hate and bitterness and antipathy. It’s like the Blackadder Christmas Carol, which turns Dickens on its head having our hero change from “the nicest man in England into the horridest man in the world.”
“What happened to the milk of human kindness?” asks Baldrick?
“It’s gone off,” is the reply.
So I’m asking your help here. Between now and Monday, send me your best personal Christmas story that shows that the milk of human kindness still flows from the bosom of human respect and that the world is not just suckling from the hind teat of hate. Editor@tumblerridgenews.com.