The Candle Story
As we all celebrate the brilliance of our modern holiday season, a portion of the strength I pull from in this time of year comes from something deeper, more ancient. I am taken back to an archaic time. A time before Kwanzaa, Christmas, Inti Rami, Wassail, or Saturnalia. A time deeper in our past whose traditions shine through these more contemporary celebrations. These core traditions of early man all carried a common theme of celebrating “light over dark”, and rejuvenation. The symbol of light is celebrated over a series of days like the Jewish tradition of Hanukah, the Persian’s Yalda celebration, and the Germanic traditions of Yule tide. As I think these ancient thoughts, I am warmed by the volume of hands that came before mine, as I travel back in time. These shared experiences were first born when we were at our most primitive state. When life was more physical, more vulnerable, and when we had little convenience to concern us.
This was a very new time for us, and we began to form our first traditions, creating foundations for today’s diverse global culture. During these times, in this season, the hunting was slowing, the fresh grown berries were plucked, the land laid ensconced in ice and the darkness at night seemed endless. Yet man’s answer to this utter bleakness, was one of hope. Our kin, clan and tribe gathered around the flickering flames; and found faith from within the coil of the collective us. Surely someone; woman, man, or child first raised up the cherished flame as a symbol of the brightness and warmth yet to come again in the spring, and our peoples endowed themselves with strength watching the swirling crackle of a well-primed fire. I don’t know what they called this celebration, if anything at all; but I have no doubt of it. I know we share an instinctual imprint from these early times, appreciating the warmth from a fire and the fondness of others we hold close. And I see within each candle shines a single flame as a testament to our hope in a wonderous future together.