My religious tradition, building on an earlier tradition, speaks of the night of Christmas as one in which "...a light shone in the darkness..."
As always I am struck by how powerfully these images of light and dark resonate with our experience of the world around us in these brief Winter days. They serve as a reminder that the light returns. The darkness is not the end, or the all.
A reminder, for we are a forgetful people. If not forgetful, absent-minded.
For it is easy to forget that the light returns. That what presents as unending darkness gives way to light. It always has, even at the times it seemed it could not. And it always will, at least until that last great burst of light our sun will deliver before life on this bauble of a planet we call home goes the way of all things.
Yet the up-to-the-minute disaster services, our modern Cassandras, would have us tune our minds to one bleak perspective after another, barely comprehending the first before switching to contemplate the next.
This leads to absent-mindedness. Unthinking, unblinking, staring into the dark. As if the dark is all there is.
Whatever your tradition, there is a deep belief, gifted to us from the genes of our ancestors, based upon memory carried in those same genes, that the light returns.
When we had nothing like the understanding we do today, we yet built mechanisms that would show us that the light was returning. Millenia later, these mechanisms still work!
We are creatures of light. Look into the smile of a baby and tell me otherwise.