Merry Christmas

  • Post category:My Journey

I’ve always been intrigued by contrasts, particularly, the play between light and darkness. I imagine this is hardly unique as such symbolism permeates imagery, literary and otherwise. I would hardly call myself an expert by any means on the art forms of drawing and painting, but I remember as a child seeing a work by a master painter that caught my eye. I don’t even remember what the subject was, just the imagery. There was a dark room with a single candle, or perhaps a lantern, and the painter had expertly drawn sharp contrasts of light and darkness. The brilliant candle was the focal point, bathing the face of a nearby person in its illumination. But everywhere else there was only gloom and shadow.

I have to be honest, December is probably my least favorite time of the year. With the departure of daylight savings time it is pitch black when I drive home from work. The long evenings of summer are a faded dream as we near the bleakness of the solstice. It is a cold time of shivering as I scrape my windows and wait for my car to thaw. Or, if it is warmer, that usually means a deluge of dreary rain. It is a period of darkness.

For that reason, I think my favorite part of the Christmas season is the lights on the houses. There doesn’t have to be a lot of them. Indeed, my own house sports a single strand running across the eaves and ringing one window. I’d go so far as to say that there is such a thing as too much light. I don’t want to downplay those houses that go all out because I know it brings the occupants great joy and they can be a pleasure to look upon. But for me, the best houses are those in balance. Part of what makes the lights on a house beautiful are how they arrange with the surrounding night. Too much darkness and it is grim. Too much light and it is glaring. There is poetry in the conflict.

It is easy to get caught up in other things, commercialism and politics, or perhaps even noble things such as family and gift giving. Yet all of these fade to me before a single image: a tiny light against the darkness and the darkness cannot consume it.

“She strode there, over the great divide against the onrushing darkness, surrounded, but never consumed. Two blades as twin stars, piercing the Abyss. But it was not the day for the Abyss to fall, and so she fell instead, sundering the darkness with her final breath.

The Death of Henji upon the Bridge of Vasyr, Author Unknown

Merry Christmas,
Jonathan Oldenburg