At 6:01 am on December 22 many years ago, I decided it was time to make my way into the world. It was a Wednesday, just before dawn of the winter solstice. Hannukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, had just ended, and Christmas was only days away. I left the hospital on Christmas Eve swaddled in a red stocking, and wearing an infant-size Santa hat. At least, this is what I’ve been told. This is what the photographic evidence confirms.
This is the date that has been my celebratory day ever since. Friends often said what rotten luck it was to have a birthday so close to Christmas. Having never had a different birthday, I couldn’t comment, but it didn’t seem like rotten luck to me. I had been born. The alternative might have been worse.
As I got older and my responsibilities grew, the light of my birthday dimmed. There were presents to make, Christmas letters to write, cookies to bake, gifts to wrap, stockings to stuff. The wise men in the nativity set were supposed to move closer to the baby Jesus each day. The advent calendars needed daily attention. There were songs to be sung and Christmas stories to be told.
The short days, a brief blip of light in what seemed like a sea of darkness, were never long enough. It was overwhelming. Birthdays? Just another year older. I could never remember how old I was anyway.
Then, a few years ago, I was given an epiphany for my birthday. My birthday fell on the winter solstice. Though the solstice marks the change of season, it also heralds a season of more light. Yes, the days are cold and they are still short, but more light is on the way.
Starting today, the rays from the sun won’t have to stretch so far to touch each one of us (here in the northern hemisphere). It is a day of hope in a season of hope, brimming with glorias and good cheer, with peace on earth, good will toward men. I don’t think I could have chosen a better day, if I had had the option.
I share that birthday epiphany with you. If the days seem dark and overwhelming, step back from all the clamor and commotion and see the light. It’s on its way.
Sending love and light from all of us here at Quirk and Quill.