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12 Night Contemplation

December 24, 2011

It’s December 24th, tonight the Big Guy shimmies down the chimney loosening the mortar and the darn deer leave scat on the roof you’ll have to clean up, again.

Are you ready? Me either. Every year I stand in the front room and raising my hand in front of the fireplace holding a gift  and I look to the heavens and I swear that as God is my witness I will never do this to myself again.

Ahem.

Physically I may be not so ready but the quiet within me is there.

I am preparing to celebrate he Holy Nights. Tonight, Christmas Eve will begin  the observance of  13 days days of Christmas and  their 12 Holy Nights. It’s not just a song you know.

The purpose of the study is to quiet yourself for those nights with  meditation, journaling and study  for  inner reflection on the coming year. This is not a religious endeavor but it is a spiritual one. A pause between this year and next.

Some believe that each day corresponded to the coming months, zodiac, portends the future or crops and weather. While this may be true, I choose to think that it is a fixed focal point for my past and future to meet in the present, where I meditate on where I want to be and from where I have come.  For me the study of the Holy Nights  are about contemplation and  inner reflection.   While our family has celebrated Advent and  Epiphany or as we’ve called it 3 Kings day, until last year I had never turned my attention to the 12 Holy Nights. In previous years I’ve followed the meditative work of  Advent with various facilitators and found  peace in the insights and inner focus. So in a search for more last year I found Lynn Jericho a Waldorf  educator, blogger, guide and coach  who offers a free E-course study of the Holy Nights ( among her other offerings) . I enjoyed the contemplation so much I am doing it agin this year.  Lynn has been offering these for 8 years now. This year’s study revolves around Reciprocity.  Reciprocity is the intimate and creative marriage of giving and receiving.” Her website is here:   http://imagineself.com/inner-christmas/

I am also going to take the big leap and strive to do William Bento’s Holy Nights Journal. I ordered it from the Rudolf Steiner College Bookstore, should you want one, mine arrived in 2 days.  http://www.steinercollege.edu/store/

For children the aftermath of Christmas can be difficult.  The build up and hype of the big day often leaves them in an anticlimactic funk or an overwhelming of antipathy “there is nothing to do”. In some Waldorf families a spiral of 12 stars is made for the Wise Men to travel and virtues are shared each day. This idea seems so wonderful to me and I may adopt it in some fashion during dinner time. What I know that I will do, is to take the meditation ideas offered from Lynn and William and revise them to share with my girls. I will light a candle each night as it grows dark, we will discuss the darkness that envelops us in winter, what light offers to us and how we might each offer light to others. I will pull a virtues card from our deck and we can talk about them, (though I know that both Lynn & William’s study guide offers  virtues  that I may use ) We have always celebrate 3 Kings Day, aka Epiphany, and this year will be no different, except that there will be deeper meaning as we light our last candle.

It is not to much to ask a child over 7 to contemplate, to think deeply.  One only  must do it in a light manner and keep it simple to the developmental age.

 Here are Steiner’s thoughts on the Holy Nights, should you want it from the horse’s mouth. http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/Christmas/19111226p01.html.
Please join me in this endeavor either with the studies I’ve suggested or ones you may have on your own, I’d love to hear about them.  I once read:  “Although it is possible through individual study to raise ourselves to very high level in the spirit, without communion with others of like mind, we remain cramped and contracted. The ego can suffocate without this breathing from soul to soul.” (which I wrote down without note of author)
Blessings on your Christmas.
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