Thanks to a beautiful gift I received for Christmas, I can complete my yearly holiday tradition of moving from old journal to new. While filling in the first page, I figured out that I had created my own small solstice ritual without even having realized it.
The whole point of this season, (no matter what tradition you follow) is banishing the darkness and embracing the light: be it in the form of lighting lamps from oil that wasn't meant to last, welcoming a Messiah as the light of the world, or celebrating another turn in the wheel of the year.
From here the days get longer.
The light lingers.
What has that got to do with writing?
For me, writing in a journal is cathartic. I can say and feel whatever it is that I want with no filter. I can freely express whatever thought pops into my head, no matter how cruel or inappropriate. It usually keeps these thoughts from spilling out of my mouth. (Usually.)
The downside, is that the pages I fill often bear witness to the crappy person I can sometimes be - the poor choices I make, the way I hurt people. It is a chronicle of my lowest moments and times I feel utterly lost.
Pages upon pages of my handwriting have been dedicated to these moments, both good and bad, to the point that each journal I fill is heavy with more than just ink. Every fear, every tear and every scar is etched there, to the point that carrying it around is like carrying around the entire year in my bag.
I have spent many a day burdening myself with carrying around the last year, condensed into the pages of the journal I filled.
The whole point of the winter solstice, of Christmas, is to disperse the darkness and embrace the light - to rid yourself of things that burden and no longer serve. Every year, I rid myself of the thoughts of the past year and give myself a blank canvas to fill again. This is just the first Christmas that I have recognized it for what it was.
Most people would think to start anew with the first of the new year. I don't think that's necessarily wrong. If making a resolution and starting fresh with the new year is your thing and it works for you, then by all means, go for it.
For me, starting with a new journal and a fresh outlook is like embracing the light and ridding myself of the negative thoughts I carried in the last year. This is a chance to think new thoughts and write new words on new pages - to break the cycle and not carry thoughts and habits through to the new year and the time of year when the sun rules the sky.
Christmas has become a season that is just as much about family, friends and spreading love as it has become a time of reflection. Winter time (and Christmas especially) is a pivotal moment when we can look back at where we have been and look forward to where we can go. It's almost like standing in the center of the seesaw. You can either step back and live with the habits and thoughts that have troubled you, or leave them behind in the darkness and step into the light.