Sitting in the waiting area of Meineke while my car is in the shop to receive new brakes. Doing it in anticipation of winter weather, I want to safely traverse the roads here on the East Coast where snow and ice are frequent. To my right is the window sill decorated with white fluff, silver balls, frosted pine cones, and clear twinkle lights. To the left is the television on which holiday music is being sung by Ingrid Michaelson. In between, I sit with various emotions. I have always loved the Winter holidays, having grown up Jewish, and celebrating Hanukkah at home and Christmas with friends. Lights, color, candles, music, food, gift giving, bells, all have a part in my life. I host an annual Latke Party which fills my house with friends and family, music and drumming, as well as the delicious aromas of the delectable fried pancakes made of potatoes, onions, eggs, flour, and spices. On the Winter Solstice, I join friends at the home of my friends Deva and Stan as we usher in the holiday that celebrates the calling in of the light and the honoring of the Divine Feminine and Divine Masculine. We light a yule log and toss into the fire, what we want to release from the current year and what we desire for the next. We do a gift exchange where we bring something we want to pass on and once we pick the present, we find the person who brought it, sit with them and share the story of what it means to us.

What I love the most about holiday traditions, are the people with whom I celebrate them. This year, my son and daughter-in-law will be hosting Christmas Day dinner at their new home. I stopped by on Sunday and marveled at their tall tree nestled in the high-ceilinged living room, bedecked with lights and ornaments; one made by my now 31 year-old-son when he was in elementary school. It has a photo of his seven-year-old or so self. He rolls his eyes when his wife and I ooohh and ahhh over its cuteness. We sat and watched a movie with Kurt Russell as an edgier than traditional Santa. Called The Christmas Chronicles, it focuses on a family who has experienced a tragic loss and the ways in which it impacts their holiday time. A wild adventure ensues and Christmas is saved.

What made that movie particularly poignant was that several hours earlier, I witnessed the passing of a dear friend as she left her cancer-riddled body. I could feel her Spirit lifting aloft since her shell could not contain it. Sadness mixed with relief blended with exhaustion after months of assisting with her care. I drove home from the hospice unit where she had been for a few days before her transition long about 2 a.m., passing brightly lit homes along the way. I wondered what was happening in the lives of those who resided within. Were they celebrating? Were they too grieving? Could they fuse the two?

My own holi-daze journey includes the deaths of my husband (12/21/98) and my mother (11/26/10), so I both celebrate and grieve. With the l passing of my friend Ondreah on December 9th, it has additional significance. May her Spirit soar as high and shine as brightly as the Star of Wonder.


More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

For many of us in the U.S., this marks more than six months that we have been in quarantine. I refer to it as ‘self solituding’ and the experience has been both terrifying and comforting. In mid-March, as the buds were beautifully blossoming, I was turning inward, attempting to wrap my mind around the possibility […]

Music has the power to delight, to entertain, to soothe, to uplift, and to heal. In this particularly trying time, when the world is awash in chaos and off the charts unpredictability, it provides additional magic mojo. I  have a friend named Robin D. Brackbill who has been doing amazing karaoke covers of well-known songs […]

Since the self-solituding began for me five weeks ago, I find myself in the delicate balance between sheer terror and complete faith that all is well, even if it looks like the farthest thing from the truth. Having been through major losses (my husband, both parents and two dear friends in the past 21 years), […]

The Coronavirus is wreaking havoc in people’s lives in unanticipated ways. Voluntary semi-quarantine, which I am engaged in now, except to go to work and have the occasional visit with my son, daughter in-law and newborn grandson has become a familiar experience over the past week. I am symptom-free and hopefully, virus free and will […]