Season of Light

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Cell phones and computers all work their magic by responding to any question or situation posed them with a simple “yes” or “no”. Every word heard, every image viewed, ultimately, is the result of a stream of “1’s” and “0’s” processed through the device. It may take a stream of thousands or millions of “on’s” and “off’s” to render a single photograph, but no matter how beautiful or subtle a picture appears, it is the product of simple binary information sequenced in a specific order.

Ancient folks celebrate the Winter Solstice, the start of the annual increase of daylight. Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah by kindling lights, one additional light each night as the holiday progresses. Christians celebrate by recognizing their Savior’s birth first announced by a brilliant star in the sky. The pursuit of many Eastern traditions is literally “enlightenment”.

The apparent need to appreciate and engender light is basic human nature common to every individual, whether one participates in a belief system or not.

Evidences of this trait practically applied abound: when one chooses soothing words rather than criticism, shares food with others even if their own appetite remains unsated, offers understanding to those who feel overwhelmed, or comfort to those wounded emotionally or physically, they increase the light in all of our lives.

Day to day, we are presented a series of opportunities requiring us to make these 1/0 yes/no on/off light/dark kind of decisions. As this stream of countless choices accumulates and lengthens, it defines the course and nature of our existence.

Regardless of ones’ beliefs, celebration of this Season of Light is meant to remind us all that continually striving to make the “light choice” is how we navigate toward a happy, bright, joyous life – not only for ourselves and those near and dear, but as well for those distant and unknown.

December Dawn

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Heavy rain drumming on the roof finally gave way to snow last night. Sleep came first, rendering the change unnoticeable until awakening. Without much cold weather yet to acclimate to, these seem to be the coldest, most uncomfortable mornings of the year. Ski seasons usually begin any time now. Another couple of weeks, the days will begin to lengthen. A few days after that, homes will be warmed and brightened by loved ones gathered for holidays. These, the last few days of uncertain Autumn, urge us to face the upcoming cold of winter insulated by the soothing warmth of friends and family.