Minister’s forum: Snowfall gives inspiration to reflect
November 29, 2005
Although the Season of Peace and Non-Violence runs from Jan. 31 through April 4, the season really starts in our hearts in December. It took me many years to understand the beauty and the cycle of nature, to understand more clearly what was meant in Ecclesiastics about “to everything there is a season, a time for everything under the sun.”
I was born and raised in Southern California, and the first time I came to Lake Tahoe, in my early 20s, I was amazed the temperature got below 40 degrees. Previously, I joke, I had thought people would perish at those temperatures.
It wasn’t until I moved to Munich, Germany, that I learned the beauty of winter and the value that it offers each of us. A wise German friend explained to me that winter is a time when we have the opportunity to turn inward. It is a time when we can take the time to connect with the spirit of peace within us.
Years later I went into the ministry and was able to connect those wise words with the spiritual meaning of winter. Most scholars agree that Jesus was not born in December, but probably later in the spring. Why then do we celebrate the birth in December, in the midst of the winter solstice? Well, we may never know for sure, but I have my theories.
Before the modern world, human beings were more in touch with the seasons. They were more aware of the gifts of each season, and the gifts of winter and turning inward. How many of us each year look forward to that first glorious snowfall? It is so exciting to wake in the morning to a soft white covering of snow on the landscape contrasted against the vibrant blue of a Tahoe sky. And how many of us have stood in the midst of a snowfall watching the huge gentle flakes fall and marvel at the quiet and peace? December is the season of hope, peace, joy and love. Hanukkah is the celebration of the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. The birth of the Christ child is a celebration of the miracle of the virgin birth. These events symbolize the love, peace and joy and hope that fills our hearts when we contemplate these miracles. They are a reminder to us that miracles are possible, and in fact are part of our life experience if we just pay attention.
December is the time of year to go within and become still. It is a time to renew our faith in a loving presence in the universe. No matter what your faith, this season of peace offers you a time to renew your strength and your dignity of human spirit. It offers you hope and vision for a greater life: one filled with love, hope, joy and peace.
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May you have a December filled with the miracles of the season!
– Ruth Wallace is the minister of Unity at the Lake.