Light Breaking Out of Darkness

“There Are Two Ways Of Spreading Light, To Be The Candle Or The Mirror That Reflects It.”

Edith Wharton

On this side of the hemisphere, as we creep out of the winter solstice, the days are slowly lengthening, the engulfing darkness is less so, and a chill is in the air. As the sun comes up, day breaks, and we are flooded with the sun’s warming rays of light piercing through the cold darkness. 

We see this repetition of light overcoming darkness as global, cultural, and religious themes. For centuries, the concept of “light” has had significant physical presence as well as symbolism in many cultures and religions around winter celebrations. These indoor and outdoor displays of light bring people together to celebrate around the globe: You can find festive Christmas lights draped over trees and houses. Menorahs flickering in windows of Jewish homes. The lamps of Diwali adorning Indian homes. The candles of Kwanzaa reminding us of life-guiding principles. Spectacular light festivals and light shows in far flung corners of Germany and Japan. Sparklers and fireworks lighting up the sky as well as the path into the new year. Even some ancient cultures celebrated the winter solstice not as the longest day of the year, but as a festival welcoming back the impending warming glow of the sun, lighting bonfires and holding a feast. 

No matter what you observe this winter season, the incorporation of light connected with that celebration most likely has a meaning of hope, resiliency, and community togetherness that stem from the symbolism of light overcoming the darkness. It’s a promise that goodness will ultimately prevail over the dark and evil.

Whether from electric holiday lights, flickering candles, or even the glow of the moon, light emerging from the darkness illuminates our path and is energizing. Light helps shift what is uncertain to certainty. It can even bring a sense of peace or joy or clarity. When we “see the light” we are often referring to finally opening our hearts and minds to the truth within us. When someone “sheds light on something,” we can better understand a situation, make a decision, and find a path forward. The “light at the end of the tunnel” shows us the direction we are heading and gives us hope that we are getting closer and closer, an end is finally in sight. Light helps to guide the way.  

Light imparts inner wisdom and knowledge for the expansion of our authentic self – our destined path. Being on our destined path, speaking our authentic truth from a place of light and love, leads to enLIGHTenment. 

Light is also a symbol of purity and openness. If we think about this time of year, we see people opening their hearts to one another, sharing in joy and togetherness as the year winds down. People are better able to see one another with pure intentions and share love in their community. Perhaps this is why giving to others is also a common theme this time of year.

As you take in the glow of holiday lights, candlelight, firelight, even moonlight during this time of year, reflect on the emotions and desires the soft glow brings up in your heart. Does it elicit a sense of peace and hope for a better tomorrow? (And if not, that’s ok too!) Perhaps it ignites a powerful nudge to express yourself from your heart, helping your own candle to burn brighter. Maybe it helps illuminate more clearly what lights you up, allowing you to reflect this light back onto others, helping others also find their paths! Regardless, this relationship with light may offer you a direction for the upcoming year. 

How does the concept of light during this winter session resonate for you?

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