Today I explore the question of what it is about Christmas season that makes it feel special – so special that we collectively get into a festive mood regardless of our beliefs, and so special that it was honoured even at the front during WW I and II.

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In today’s noisy world we can basically buy anything any time or meet up with loved whenever we want, so why is Christmas season still such a special moment for gatherings?

Why is there so much preparation going on weeks, even months before the actual Christmas Day?

What is about Christmas season that makes it so special, that even though we might not be of Christian belief, we can still sense this magic in the air and want to celebrate?

To explore these questions, I dive into:

  • How Christmas is just one expression of a festival that’s been celebrated by humans for millennia
  • The energy of Winter Solstice and how it is connected to the menstrual and the moon cycle
  • My favourite tradition for this time of year

In the end, I believe, it’s about remembering that the spark of the Divine light (whatever “Divine” means to you) is right here inside of you and will guide you on this journey called life.

Resources I mentioned:

Mystical Twelve Holy Nights (Course)
What are the Twelve Holy Nights? (Podcast / Blog)

Podcast espisodes on the Fairy-Tale Lie and the Paradise-Lie

Podcast Episode on Inner Winter

Hello and welcome to this episode where I try to explore what it is that makes Christmas season so special.

But before we dive in, I want to briefly let you know about my favorite winter ritual that makes the time of or around Christmas extra special for me. It’s the Twelve Holy Nights and I’ve been celebrating them for a few years myself now. It’s twelve nights, and days of course, in between the years. I don’t know if you’ve got that similar saying in English but it’s a time in between the years. An almost magical time out of time.

I believe we can all feel it, when we pause between Christmas and New Year’s. The Twelve Holy Nights is an amazing tradition to mindfully close the old year and dream in the new. Dream in, no action taking yet.

I came across it when my father’s wife raised that, and she gave me as a gift a little booklet about the Twelve Holy Nights and I was just so intrigued and enchanted by this tradition that I knew I wanted to celebrate that every year. And I’ve brought out a little course, so that I can take you on the journey with me.

There is some assessment of where you’re at right now in your life, what has happened for you this past year, what was joyful, what was maybe challenging and finding some forgiveness and closure around the past year. So that we can turn towards envisioning the new year. Because these twelve nights, the Twelve Holy Nights, each stand for one of the months of the upcoming year. And one of the rituals is about pulling an oracle card or whatever way of divination you enjoy, as a guidance and hint as to what’s to come in that respective month.

And I am personally celebrating them between December 25th and January 6th and I invite you to come on this journey with me because it’s just amazing and magical and I know that all past participants have really enjoyed it and this has stayed with them over the course of the whole year. And you can choose to either just receive a daily email where I will send you an email with the theme of the respective holy night, some ritual ideas and journaling prompts, and so you follow along at your own pace.

Or you can choose to step in a loose circle with me where we will meet for a winter solstice ceremony to start us off. Then you will of course also receive these daily emails and we meet for a sharing circle in between so that you can exchange what’s coming up for you, what insights you’ve already had, what you are pondering and what you are enjoying. And then we close together at the end in a closing ceremony to wrap up everything that has unfolded and slowly venture into the new year feeling well rested and nourished.

Because to me it’s not fixed and clear-cut but rather a gliding into this new year. And I will link to that in the show notes where you can learn more about the tradition of the Twelve Holy Nights and where it comes from, what it is all about and of course also the dates for our three life circles and the option to book and be part of this experience. And I would really love to have you.

I know that if this sounds like a lot I promise that whatever I create is designed to not put more to-dos on top of your probably already full plate, but instead to support you in your life. So if you’ve only got five or ten minutes a day during these twelve nights, amazing. Or if you maybe need to drop out one day, you maybe just pull a card and that’s it for that day and then dive back into a practice the next day, that’s all completely fine because there is no right or wrong way to celebrate the Twelve Holy Nights. This is just about deep, delicious connection with yourself.

Which is what this time of year is about anyway, I believe. That’s at least what came through in my personal exploration of our question today. So without further ado, let’s dive into this topic about what’s so special about Christmas or what makes Christmas time so special.

And this whole idea started last weekend when we were at my father’s to celebrate his retirement. And he, his wife, my husband and I were sitting together as we do when we come together, talking a lot and already discussing the upcoming Christmas festivities, organizing where we would celebrate on which day, who organizes what, etc etc.

And then he asked this question that made me think and that has been percolating in the ever since: What is it about Christmas that makes it so special? So special that everyone has this need to celebrate it, even though they aren’t necessarily Christian. Why is there so much preparation going on, weeks even months before the actual Christmas day? Why are Christmas sweets starting to be sold in September? (That’s at least here in Germany.) Why is everyone so set on decorating, baking, eating together, preparing gifts?

And to understand where he is coming from, you have to know that he has grown up in Jehovah’s Witnesses. They say it’s a religion, but it’s basically a sect that says that they are the good people, those who believe in Jehovah and do his bidding, and they have their own script, similar to the Bible. And they say that the good people who believe in Jehovah, they will survive when the world is going to burn down, which is of course soon.

And it probably should have burned by now. And well, in a sense, it is burning, but that’s a different story.

And they aren’t allowed to have contact to other people who are not Jehovah’s Witnesses. So for example, children in school have to separate from the others, they are not really allowed to visit others. There is no celebration of, for example, their birthdays. There is no celebration of any pagan holidays, like Christmas for them is a pagan holiday. There is no mingling with people of other belief.

And that makes it actually really hard to step out of the sect because of the isolation. Because if you leave, you don’t have any friends or support at all. Your parents need to revoke you, basically, and cease contact with you, and you’re all on your own. And that’s why, of course, a lot of people stay there. And others really believe it, of course.

And what I find really fascinating is that from quite an early age, he strengthened this unbreakable core inside of him. This belief that this isn’t right. And so he started cultivating friends outside of his circle, and for that he was already looked at strangely. And when he turned 18, he left. And then, of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses turned it into they had rejected him from the sect.

And the interesting thing is that his parents weren’t such strong believers, they came with him. So he has remained in contact with them. They ceased contact with the members of Jehovah’s Witnesses and started building a new life. And I believe this is a really brave act to do that. And I want to honor that.

But this means he hasn’t grown up with Christmas other than seeing Christmas trees and presents at his friends’ homes. But even then, his religion asked him to educate those people that what they were doing wasn’t right and they should leave it because otherwise there’s no saving for them. As soon as the Armageddon comes, there will be no chance for them to be saved.

Imagine a 10-year-old boy telling his friends and the parents of his friends that what they are doing is inherently evil. It’s really unbelievable. And after leaving Jehovah’s Witnesses, he did celebrate Christmas. He just never got this deeply infused with this special magic that others seem to carry when they think of Christmas and Advent season.

But at the same time, he’s very intrigued how or why people have this inner need to be festive at this time. He’s interested a lot in the world wars and the airplanes and all of that. And even then, there would be ceasefires for Christmas Eve, which, here in Germany at least, is the main event. It’s December 24th. And there would be ceasefires at the front and soldiers would scrape together what little food they had to have some sort of festive dinner. They would save the letters they had received from family to read on this occasion. They would sing songs together, all of that.

And we were thinking, what is it about Christmas that inspires this kind of action?

Is it the presents? And no, of course not. Looking at it right now, Christmas is just a whole commercial feeding into this capitalist narrative of “more, more, more”, “higher, better, spending”. Yeah, so that cannot be it.

Is it about decorating the apartment and sitting together as a family, whether that’s the blood family or the chosen family, and preparing yourself a cozy space? And yes, that is really nice. But also you could do that at any other point of the year.

And a hundred years back, for example, it really was special because it was probably the only time a child would receive toys as a gift. There was a special dinner prepared with everything the family had saved for this special occasion. And in today’s noisy world, we can basically buy anything at any time, given we have the budget and I don’t want to dismiss that many have to try and make do with very little. So why is this still so special?

And even if you leave Christmas aside, other religions, other belief systems, they are celebrating other festivals, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or maybe don’t celebrate, but I dare say we all have the sense that this time of year is special. But why?

And my quick answer was: “It’s the magic.” Not the magic of presents and Father Christmas coming, etc. But the magic that I can sense in the air at this time of year. As I said, between Christmas and New Year’s, there is just this atmosphere, this scent in the air. It’s the frost, it’s the darkness, it’s the mysticism, it’s the fog. There’s something in the air.

And I believe it doesn’t have to do with Christmas, per se. Because Christmas is an invention of the Christian church. People celebrated at this time of year far earlier than Christianity made its way here. As I just shared, there are other festivals and they are often centered around light. People celebrated Winter Solstice, way before the Christian belief and the church made its way up here in Europe and from then to the world.

Winter Solstice is the darkest night, when the sun is at the lowest point of the horizon. And it means that from then on the days are getting longer, the light is coming back. It’s a time of hope. It’s a time of hope that the light will return and that at the end of these dark nights there is going to be a light. The light of the sun.

And that of course was then turned into Jesus’ birth, Jesus as the light of the world. Because the Christian church knew very well that they couldn’t simply forbid all these pagan festivities, but they could turn it to their favor. So we started celebrating Christ’s birth at that time.

And there may also be something around hope for the Savior to come, Jesus as the Savior, the one that’s going to come and rescue and redeem us poor sinners. But that directly feeds into both the fairy tale lie and the paradise lie we fall for so easily. And if you haven’t listened to them, go check out the last two episodes on this podcast. But I dare say with this hope of the light returning, there is magic in the air.

And again I want to invite you on the journey of the Twelve Holy Nights to feel this magic. And you can find out more below in the show notes.

But magic wasn’t the only answer for me. There was something that continued working in me after the weekend and then I went a layer deeper. Because Winter Solstice is also the deepest, darkest point in the yearly cycle. Because the year has a cycle, too, just like a day, just like a month, the year has a cycle. And the quality, the energetic quality of this time of year around Winter Solstice, the deepest, darkest point, is the same energy as menstruation in a menstrual cycle or the Dark Moon in a monthly cycle, so when the moon is not visible in the sky.

They all have inherently the same kind of energy going on. And if you don’t know about the different energies in the four phases, and you can of course listen to my earlier podcasts where I explain more about this, but this inner winter, both the inner winter in menstruation or Dark Moon or the outer winter in winter season is all about being inward, being attuned to the self.

It’s the time, especially menstruation, but also Dark Moon, the time when we are most connected with our self, with our truth, with our essence, basically with our inner light with that which we have to give to this world. And at this time in the month, we are most attuned to that.

And when we translate that to Winter Solstice and in a year, of course Winter Solstice is the moment where we are most attuned to our truth, to what we are here for, what’s important to us, what matters to us, to our own mattering, that we matter in this world. And basically that means that Winter Solstice is menstruation on a collective level. So it’s our collective time to go inwards and look at this connection to the self.

And maybe the magic that we experience at this time of year is due to that, that we suddenly get an inkling of what’s really important, being together, being present with another, knowing that your presence is present enough.

Maybe it’s at this time that we understand that we don’t need to search for a God or the Divine outside of ourselves. But that it’s right here, inside of us, inside every one of us. The spark of the Divine Light, however you define the Divine, but the spark of the Divine Light is in you, whatever belief or religion you have.

And to come back to the story in the beginning and the question my father asked why even in the midst of war, Christmas was almost respected, sacred, celebrated at the front. And maybe it’s this, it’s that we know deep down inside, we know that this is not the right way forward, that fighting isn’t what’s going to get us out of this mess.

Maybe it’s that we remember that we are all humans after all, all in this messiness and scary unknown of the world and it’s the hope of the light, the outer and the inner light that can help us through when we’re desperate, when we don’t know how to navigate this life. It’s our own light coming to our rescue, it’s the light within that is our saviour.

And maybe that’s what Winter Solstice and Christmas are about, that we remember this light just like we do during every menstruation or every Dark Moon as a woman or a menstruating person. And because this culminates at this time, that’s why it goes so deep, because everyone is affected. I mean menstruation, different people have it at different times during the month, but winter solstice is like a collective time where we go deep.

It means one cycle ends, the yearly cycle ends, and it’s a time of reflection, of contemplation, looking back at what the year has brought, all the things that happened and then starting to envision the new and what’s to come and what you want to manifest and create in this next cycle.

Not taking action yet, but just getting an idea, getting a glimpse of what you would like to have happen this coming year, just as the Twelve Holy Nights invite us to do – to reflect, to assess the current situation and all the good we have here in this moment and then allowing ourselves to dream into the next year, to do oracle readings, to get a glimpse of what’s to come without clear intention, just getting a sense of the next cycle.

These are just my thoughts, right? So I would love to know what it is for you, what has came up for you, what has been sparked in you. Do you relate to what I shared? What else is there, why you feel so special for Christmas season – again, whether or not you celebrate actual Christmas, but this advent time, this December time, what is it for you that makes this time so special?

And as always, I would love to know, so please, please, please tell me, send me an email, reach out on social media, I would really love to connect over this and yeah, until we connect, have a beautiful day and much love. Bye.

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