Monday, December 1, 2014

The Season of Light

by Terri

Winter, the coldest and darkest of seasons — a time which holds
some of the warmest and brightest celebrations of the year.
As the year draws to a close and the annual holiday season is upon us, I have noticed an interesting pattern in the familiar holiday rituals. It is striking how many of the holidays that fall around this time of year involve the ceremonial kindling of light as an element of the celebration. Many of the world's most endearing holiday customs involve lighting up the winter season — from the burning Yule log, sparkling Christmas tree lights and candles in windows, to the lighting of luminarias in the American Southwest and the traditional ritual of the Hanukkah Menorah.

It is no surprise that we seek light in a season of darkness. We are, after all, a visual species. As compared to many other living creatures that rely on their senses of hearing or smell, human beings make their way through the world with vision as our primary guide, and devote far more of our brains to sight than we do to any other sense. And, as photographers, light is what makes it all possible.

At this time of year, the days are short and darkness falls early. As the sun sinks from view and the land grows dark and cold, it is understandable that people across many cultures would respond by kindling their own light, seeking to preserve some of that precious illumination to lift their spirits and sustain them through the winter.

But there is another kind of light, more profound than mere physical illumination. The holiday season has never just been a time for ceremonial illumination, but a time to remind us of our moral duty to ease the burden of suffering in this world and brighten the lives of others through acts of compassion and charity. In truth we should be devoted to this cause twelve months out of each year, but any effort at all is far better than none. If the holidays are a season of light, then this is the most important kind we can bring about – the light that shines into the lives of others and leaves them aware that they are cared for and loved – and this, far more than candles or Christmas lights, is the kind we should all seek to promote.

So for the month of December, we hope you will join us in our celebration of the Season of Light and that you will share your light-filled images with us in our Flickr group and on IG. With all that light, the galleries are sure to be spectacular!



Carol said...

What a beautifully written post, Terri. I had never associated the need for winter light with the decorations - very interesting! And these shots are really beautiful! I also love the new Christmas banner -you are so good at putting our shots together in the best ways! OK -first time this year -here it comes -MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Dotti said...

Lovely post, Terri! I have long associated holiday lights with our need for light as the winter solstice approaches. As soon as we turn our clocks back in November, I start lighting candles in the evenings in our kitchen and family room and will continue to do until we turn the clocks forward. I learned long ago that I need any bit of light I can find in this season. I love to see lights on homes during December and always feel a bit sad when they start disappearing as January approaches for then I know winter is truly settling in bringing its darkness. But yes, the most important light is the light that comes from within, the light of love, that we share with one another.

Linda said...

This is a great theme for December! Your shots are beautiful! The luminaries are making me miss New Mexico! My favorite light is the one that is beaming from your darling grand daughter!

kelly said...

oh my goodness terri...what a beautiful way to start the holiday season! your wonderful photos and words just warm my heart on this bitterly cold morning. like dotti said, I crave light this time of year and will take it any place I can get it. and thanks to your gently reminder, will try to share the light as much as possible. thank you for such beautiful words this morning. xo

Cathy said...

Beautiful post Terri! I crave the light too and look for it everywhere I can this time of year. Wonderful photos and can't wait to see what shows up jn our Flickr Group!

Kelly Kardos said...

This is SO beautiful written Terri. And what's not to love about bokeh lights!

Linda/patchwork said...

Beautiful photos...and, beautiful words.

AFishGirl said...

Beautiful, Terri. Yes, yes.

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