It is not Christmas. September is not Christmas. October and November? Not Christmas. In our country, that isn’t said enough. December isn’t Christmas either, at least not until the 24th, really. There are many things I love about Anthroposophy and Steiner Education; celebrating the festivals when they happen is up there on the list.
The festivals have to do with connecting what is outside in the world with our inner life and also coming into understanding of what is above and below. These forces change with the seasons. There is a reason for that as the world is constantly shifting and these shifts bring about different influences. Here in the Philippines we do not go through the four seasons, but I know and feel the changes as well, even though the outward manifestations are not the same. What happens across the globe naturally affects what happens here. The spirit and substance of these spiritual and earthly changes are what we honor.
When we choose to celebrate the festivals on a whim, without making an effort to understand what they truly are about, we dishonor what I feel are sacred impulses that are there for human beings to re-connect with the divine. Instead, we bring forth materialism by reducing these deep and moving rituals to mere ornamentation. No wonder so many people are depressed during the holidays and choose to make things louder, more vibrant, merrier, without understanding that the farther outside one reaches to find the essence, the more desolate one feels inside.
I think we all feel somewhat quiet and melancholic at Christmas because it is meant to be. There is the birth of something new and a death of the old. If we paid attention to what nature is telling us at this time, we would notice that the darkness has a very dense quality to it and sitting with that darkness, accepting it, understanding what it brings, will lead us to the light of the Christ Child and all that means. But if we negate that and whip on the lights and plastic snowmen (yes, in the Philippines), and all the other external trimmings, then we wouldn’t hear the soft but persistent voice of hope the season also brings. This does not happen in September, October or November.
Other things happen then and we would do well– and serve our families and communities better–if we took the time to pay attention and really listen to what is speaking.