December is a difficult month in many ways while it is also a joyous month. Perhaps more than any other month of the year, it exemplifies that light and dark co-exist in all of life. The holidays of December bring a mixture of stress and exaltation, demanding organization and preparation for celebration while allowing for and encouraging relaxation and excess. Family and friends gather and love is shared. Family and friends gather and conflicts arise. There are usually such high expectations for the holidays, whether it is about gifts or food or relationships. It is easy to feel let down. Yes, you can absolutely feel both high and low this time of year—oh, the duality of dark and light in life.
The duality of light and dark also plays out more literally as this month is filled with long dark nights and lights aglow in the form of Christmas lights, Hanukah candles and other winter celebrations. Winter Solstice was on the 21st this year and it signified the shortest day and longest night of the year. And yet that day also marks the inflection point when daylight grows longer each day until it reaches its longest day on June 21st 2019. There is so much light to look forward to while also honoring the darkness of winter.
December also marks the end of the year and with that comes so much processing and reflection upon the year. The past year provides an abundance of light and dark to reflect on because you can’t go through a year without having ups and downs and experiencing the depths of joy and sorrow. Part of the difficulty of December is that we are all so busy with the holidays that we don’t have enough space to process and complete the year. I find that I always put time in my calendar to review and reflect on the year in late December but I don’t get around to it until early January. And that is okay. Rather than jumping too quickly into the next year, take all the time you need to bring a sense of closure and completion for the past year. Reflect upon the highs and the lows of your year to fully understand how lucky you are to have a rich and full life filled with both light and dark.