"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.”

Henry D. Thoreau




Re-thinking Christmas Lifestyle

By Tim Kroeker

At this time of the year, one's thoughts turn quite naturally to Stonehenge and Dr. Seuss ...or mine did.

First Stonehenge. Ancient peoples in the northern hemisphere were pretty tuned into the sun, observing that when it wasn't shining with much strength, the weather turned cold and not much grew. The sun sat lower and lower on the horizon. People went hungry and there didn't seem to be any guarantee that it would warm up again. And this happened with uncomfortable regularity, so the obvious thing to do was listen to the learned men and perform the necessary rituals to make sure the sun returned. We won't go into detail on that, but you can bet it wasn't pretty. Thankfully the sun did make a comeback and eventually the furs could go back in storage. But it always felt nip and tuck; not something to take for granted. Stonehenge seems to have been part of the ceremony and it stands today as a reminder that as far back as people can remember and farther back than that, we have had an uneasy feeling about being able to count on the sun.

It's a time of transition, the winter solstice, and it makes us feel hopeful. But we also get a little nervous when the pendulum swings the other way, when it's not cold enough. Oh sure, we say how great it is not to have to wear longjohns and toques in December and the hardy parade in bermudas. But there's a nervousness all the same, because the learned say that it's not the way it should be, and we know it! Maybe it's an aberration, an errant ocean current, a rogue jet stream. Maybe it's a portent of things to come. What rituals will get us back on track, we wonder.

Dr. Seuss. At a dark time of year when people look for wise men and signs in the heavens, wisdom comes to us in the poetic whimsy of the Whos down in Whoville, who are so intent on celebrating Christmas that they don't even notice that it's all been stolen from them by the Grinch who dwells in malevolent envy on top of the mountain. He makes off with the toys, the lights, the feast and the trees, leaving them with nothing Christmassy at all, except each other and their song ...Fah who For-aze
Dah who dor-aze. Welcome Christmas, Come this way!

There's more to this story, but my take away is … focus on the important things this Christmas. Cut back on the stuff, the food, the pressure. It's the unrelenting drive to buy, to consume that wears one down. And it's wearing down the planet, as we all know and generally feel we can't do much about. The time is coming and now is that we will have to rediscover the Who Christmas wisdom so that we can find our way through this transition time. The learned got together in Paris and agreed that it is time. We need each other in the circle to make the transition.

In 2016, give a thought to joining the transition circle in our area. www.setimanitoba.org

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