Happy Winter Solstice!

Remembering The Real Reason For The Season Today

Today is the shortest day and tonight is the shortest night of the year. Tomorrow we will see (but probably not notice) a slight increase in daylight, which will continue to increase until after the summer solstice.

Christmas Reenactments/Solstice Presentations

Last week I was watching my youngest in his kindergarten winter/holiday performance. It was unusual. There was a big Christmas tree with presents on the side of the stage. But the performance was a compilation of nursery rhymes. The only Christmas-related idea in it was the starring role of the Gingerbread Man and his place as the thread of the story. The narration between each song linked the various nursery rhymes into a telling of the Gingerbread Man’s journey and his eventual learning to trust others and make friends. Yes, it had a happy ending and nobody ate him. =)

It’s my understanding that nursery rhymes are more educational for young children than Christmas songs. Just their repetition alone helps children understand language. Thinking of all this–the choice of the kindergarten teachers to do such a non-traditional winter performance–got me thinking about the educational value of performances and reenactments in general. And that got me thinking about the reenactment of the Christian Christmas story that is a tradition for many families. My family usually did it when I was a child. And my own children have usually participated in a reading of the Christmas story at my in-law’s Christmas Eve celebration (until last year, when thankfully, someone most have woken up to the fact that 3 out of 6 siblings in that family is either atheist or agnostic–we now invite the grandkids to do a talent show, instead).

The result of all this train-of-thought thinking while the cute little Gingerbread Man ran around the stage and my son-playing-a-spider made cute faces at me was an idea to write a simple presentation of the Winter Solstice as a symbol of light and hope and the source for all the light-celebrating holidays, including our own Christmas. It would include a mention (and maybe visuals?) of all the sun gods (including Jesus) over the course of human history. It would also explain the reasons for our current traditions that have pagan beginnings.

Does anyone want to contribute facts/resources, especially online links? Ideas? Please share by leaving a comment. Maybe I will be able to put something together before next year’s season returns–unless you know of something like this that already exists…?

8 thoughts on “Happy Winter Solstice!”

  1. Noell!!!!!!! It’s Mike Brennan! I was just thinking about you last week and I ran into Brooke Meyers in Topeka and she told me about your website. I love the site and you look FANTASTIC! I’m living in Las Vegas, working as the musical director for Le Reve at the Wynn Hotel. I will be back there tomorrow night. We HAVE to catch up. I just found a bunch of letters you wrote me while on your mission, and it brought back so many memories. Please e mail or call me. I’m at 702-339-6360.

    Have a wonderful holiday!
    Michael Brennan

  2. Our school’s planetarium runs a show called Season of Light. It is basically a tale of the Solstice and how/why people in various cultures and times celebrated the season. It also mentions how the various traditions got incorporated into the Christian version of the day. I’m sure it is something the school purchased, not an original production, so you might be able to find the script or something.

  3. Wonderful idea, Noell – and very encouraging that you aren’t the only one thinking along these lines (very cool, Tanya!).
    I’ve thought of doing such a thing myself – the trouble being that my motivation for the idea always crops up when there is so much already going on during the holiday season :D

    Very happy to see you posting new things here!

    your post reminded me of this page:
    http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/2007/12/axial-tilt-reason-for-season.html

  4. Um, wish I had an academic offering, but all I can come up with right now is The Gospel of Thomas. If you are considering including Jesus as a man, not so much a god (or even so), then consider the sayings in this text that was found along with the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Nag Hammadi library (basically a compliation of the texts, I think) might have it included OR just get the paperback; it’s a short book http://www.skylightbooks.com/NASApp/store/Product?s=showproduct&isbn=9781893361454

    I mention it because it reads like a man who had these very cool thoughts that he shared with people. He talks a lot about light as well. I’m atheist, but fascinated by what people tend to believe in (and out of) this world.

    Good luck pulling this together for next year. Sounds like fun research!

    Mary Ann

  5. Noell,
    I have just ran across you & your husbands websites. I just subscribed to become a premium member IZZYvideo (bonus pts), loved paperclipping.com and then hit this site. I just want to say that I’m curious. I prob know a lot of agnostic people, but not many (none) that live what they believe. I’m going to keep up with your blog & see if I can learn more.
    BTW, you & your hubby are OOBER creative! I hope your work and the new commitment for Israel to go full time IZZYvideo for him is a huge success.
    MO

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