This is my favorite time of the year.  I am a “solstice” person.  For me that means I celebrate in any way possible—Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving, Christmas, Channuka, Kwanza, Wednesday….

I think it’s part of my DNA.  I was born on December 22—The first FULL day of winter—The time of year when people have traditionally hunkered down and felt the closeness of warm bodies!!  Well, we do spend more time indoors with people closer by consequence.  Even if we’re not hibernating, we huddle together.  Some of us just make it a party.

Seriously, the general mood in the Midwest from Halloween to New Year’s is typically one of Peace and Love.  It is, of course, often fueled by 80 proof or better spirits, but, hey!  Whatever warms your heart!  I think the spirits that moved old Scrooge were probably in the nog….

I have a wonderful time this time of year.  I get daily requests for donations in the mail.  I see people putting their hard-earned money in red kettles to pay the CEO’s salary.  And I know that my big-hearted friends and family help the seriously impoverished on Pine Ridge and at the Food Bank.

I know.  You are seeing the cynicism along with the schmaltz.  Duh.  Welcome to the Christmas season in the US.  We commercialize benevolence.  At the same time, we give unselfishly and exorbitantly.  Midas touches whatever he can to reduce his taxes in April and alleviates generations of suffering on a selfish whim.  The widow produces her mite and makes her neighbor give his, as well.

I am solstice, remember?  It means STOP.  The sun has stopped moving to the north because the Earth has stopped tipping that direction on its axis.  At least in my part of the world, my fellows have also stopped, momentarily, digging their greedy hands into whatever pot of gold keeps their greedy hearts beating and have paused to contemplate humanity (of which they are distant cousins).

Except for so many of those I know.  They are daily pausing to contemplate their situations and that of those around them.  They give of their time and talents and funds, no matter how meager, to help those less fortunate.  I have known the widows and their mites, but I also know of so many talented musicians who donate their gifts, especially at this time of the year, to multiple fundraisers, when they might also stand in line for a warm hat, a hot meal.  For decades I saw my teaching colleagues, many who qualified for food stamps themselves, give and give and give for their students and families and anyone else “less” fortunate than they.

Solstice.  Stop.  Think.  Give.

From wherever it might come, blessings on you, my friends.  Peace and Love!

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