Opposites seem to be more evident to me at this time of the year. Really it is more on a yin-yang feel to the season than a feeling of opposites. Some might use the words light vs. dark to describe it.
The concept of yin-yang is more than light and dark. It includes energy, balance and movement. It involves an interaction between opposites. Look at the white dot in the black and the black dot in the white. Look at out they relate in space. It reminds us without dark there is no light and without light there is no dark.
The yin-yang of the holiday season shows itself in a few ways for me. In the northern hemisphere, the number of minutes of daylight is less than the hours of darkness or shadows. There can be great joy in holiday festivities for some while others feel a sense of loss and sadness.
Today, I find the light in the darkness represented in the candlelight of St. Lucia Day – a traditional start of the Christmas season in my family. We gather in the darkness and enjoy a breakfast by candlelight. For me it is a beautiful depiction of my faith – Christ, the light of the world, came into our dark world to be God with us. It marked the day we began playing Christmas music in our home.
Today, I experience the mix of joy and sadness. I miss my mother who though not of Swedish decent embraced this tradition as important. And, in the next breath I am filled with warm memories of serving her delicious cinnamon rolls to the family at this candle lit meal.
Is it possible for light and darkness , joy and sadness to exist without the other? Would we understand the importance of light if we never experienced darkness? Would we appreciate what light allows us to see? Would we appreciate the calmness of darkness if we only experienced light? Would we experience joy to the same height if we had not experienced sadness? Would we know the depth of our sadness had we not experienced joy?
Often I feel there is a forced joy perspective on the holiday season. Allowing and acknowledging the mix of emotions is powerful and authentic. Things are not necessarily either good or bad. They are a mix. (Take a moment to read “A Blessing in Disguise“.)
Acknowledging or making space for emotions and experiences can be powerful. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be happy or sad, joyous or depressed. We exist as more than a single emotion, a single thought. Taking time to acknowledge the duality of the moment for us or in another person can be powerful.