This post is scheduled as the sun is directly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn, giving northerners like me the darkest day and the beginning of the return to longer days. No, I have no pagan upbringing. I like physics and I like understanding the model of the solar system that allows for a simple explanation of seasons, day length, and apparent solar and lunar positions. As far as I'm concerned, the reversing of the seasons is like the reversing of the Tonlé Sap river, an obvious reason to celebrate. Lots of people celebrate lots of things, about this time of year, and many of their festivals involve lights, probably influenced in timing if not in substance by the beginning of the end of the winter darkness.
I feel a little improper pronouncing to people what is in effect the blessing of a religion I don't strictly follow. Of course I do it sometimes, just as in Cambodia I gave many polite greetings and gestures that I didn't have the cultural or linguistic background to understand. I'm feel equally hypocritical wishing someone a happy Hanukkah or giving them Diwali greetings. I don't think there's anything wrong with doing so, nor in giving a religious greeting to someone who doesn't follow the corresponding faith. One Christian I know assured me that, despite the antics of some of his coreligionists, it is okay by him that not every joyous greeting or commercial activity in the entire month of December is labelled with the name of his God. In that vein, I will simply thank you all for reading, commenting, correcting, informing, and participating in what has turned into a quasi-community that I have the honour to host. I'm especially grateful to everyone who donated to the Cambodia effort, and I promise to continue telling you all about that next year.
I'll be back just before New Year's to see how I did on resolutions this year. I know already it's "badly," but a tradition is a tradition. It made me disproportionately happy when reader GPS Direct rolled off a list of silly and serious descriptors of me and admitted to knowing what my usual end-of-year topics would be. I think I didn't yet have "having people remember something about me" on my list of things that make me happy, but it should have been there. Thank you all for remembering my URL well enough to keep checking up on me for all this time.
In the meantime, enjoy anything you like to celebrate, and please keep an eye out for people for whom this is a season of pressure and loneliness. If you are someone who hopes only to survive this season, please hang on, and know that I at least am not expecting you to be automatically filled with joy and happiness just because of the date on the calendar, or the position of the sun with respect to the equator.