Many ancient and modern cultures in the northern hemisphere celebrate the winter solstice as the time the sun stops its freezing and dark southern migration and starts its return to bring warmth and light to the northern hemisphere. On our modern calendar, this is normally on Dec. 22. In the first century CE, a Roman emperor designated Dec. 25 as the Roman holiday to celebrate the solstice. In the 4th century CE, a Catholic pope selected this Roman holiday as the date to celebrate the birth of a legendary or maybe mythical messiah who has no historical record of date of birth or death. Many people in the United States today accept the Pope’s version as “the reason for the season.”
The Pope’s alleged messiah was extremely non-materialistic, yet the holiday to recognize his birth is now our most materialistic holiday of the year. “Shop till you drop” seems to be the “the reason for the season for many.”
In the modern era, a new mythical figure has been added to the season. Parents and society can now lie to the children about Santa Claus. For children (and businesses) Santa Claus may be the main “reason for the season.”
The season is also a time many people give lip service to “peace on Earth and goodwill toward man,” but it is often with the unspoken subset “just as soon as we can kill all the humans who don’t agree with our faith-based beliefs.”
Of all the “reasons for the season,” only one is based on a fact that has been observed since ancient times, fully understood in recent human history. It is a wonderful celebration that the changing tilt of the Earth does to start bringing the sun, which is critical for life in the northern hemisphere, back for another season.
Wishing all a very merry Winter Solstice season.