I love this season. A few tenacious colors still clinging to bare trees, the flurry of feathered flight, the calm hours between storms, the energetic storms themselves, the bright crescent moon in a clear night’s sky, tipping toward planets and stars, a quiet forest walk with bubbling waterfalls.
A season of light–a different kind of light, tinted, shaded, filtered light. You’re not always sure what you’re seeing, or sensing. I like that, usually.
For most American folk, this season is all about an Event: Opening Presents.
For traditional folk, this season is all about One Present: Baby Jesus.
For Nature-loving folk like me, this season is simply about Being Present to delight in the Natural Presents the earth has to give away right now.
Natural freethought is also giving out peculiar presents now. You never can guess where the wise words will come from and how their meanings can change, evolve, and stir to reflection or decisive action.
My wife urged me to read her copy of The American Revolution, published by the National Park Service. An excellent presentation of the hard truths underlying our National Myths.
(compare this to how we conveniently cover the uncomfortable truths hidden beneath the ornaments, packaging and sweetness of our Religious Myths)
Here’s one odd bit of truth-telling from none other than President Dwight Eisenhower who spoke these words during the McCarthy hearings in 1954 (the same year the Supreme Court desegregated public schools in Brown vs. Board of Education). You might ask yourself how his words apply to today, to America, to faith, to Christmas and to our lives.
“Here in America, we are descended in blood and in spirit from revolutionaries and rebels–men and women who dared to dissent from accepted doctrine. As their heirs, may we never confuse honest dissent with disloyal subversion. Without exhaustive debate–even heated debate–of ideas and programs, free government would weaken and wither. But if we allow ourselves to be persuaded that every individual, or party, that takes issue with our own convictions is necessarily wicked or treasonous–then indeed we are approaching the end of freedom’s road. We must unitedly and intelligently support the principles of Americanism.”
I keep returning to this quote lately. It makes me think the principles of Americanism are very similar to the principles of Humanism. And, it makes me think that this is also a Season for Infidels, Revolutionaries and Rebels (you know, like the poor baby in the cow dish?). A natural birth of ideas crying for. . . .