There is a flurry of events on the calendar at this time of year. Hanukkah, celebrating the reclaiming of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees, just ended. The winter solstice is on Thursday at 8:27 p.m. in Colorado. New Year’s is right around the corner, and there are seven shopping days left until Christmas.
Human calendars have an arbitrary nature to them. The time of year of Jesus’ birth is not explicitly referenced in the Bible. Historians speculate that he might have been born in October and that the Romans set the date to coincide with a pagan holiday on the solstice. But today, Christmas is not exactly on the solstice anyway.
Why is New Year’s Day on January 1st? It could just as easily have been any other day of the year. For much of Europe, New Year’s Day was March 25th in the Julian calendar. In England, when they converted to the Georgian calendar in 1751, there were national protests when they named January 1st as the beginning of the year and eliminated eleven calendar days out of existence. Citizens demanded, Give Us Our Eleven Days Back!
Most of what is on the calendar is humanly devised. But not all of it. We didn’t make the winter solstice the shortest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. That is an event of celestial proportion in which we participate. It relates to our annual journey around the Sun as it revolves around Sagittarius A*, the center of the Milky Way galaxy.
How do you experience this celestial event? For me, I notice other celestial events on the calendar—equinoxes, lunar eclipses, and full moons. I have a general perception of their significance. But they are nothing like the winter solstice.
I feel the winter solstice in my gut. It pulls at my heart and takes hold of my whole human soul. It grabs ahold of me and won’t let go.
We sometimes use the expression at the end of a person’s life that they are being called home. That is how this time of year feels. I am being called home—not to death, but to a feeling experience of being home right where I am.
This past year has been active for me in many ways. I’ve traveled around the world. I have led Sunrise Ranch through some challenging circumstances, written blogs, and published a book. Entering the solstice, I feel the call: Leave it all behind. Come home.
Throughout the year, I use the strength, compassion, and endurance I have to make the best of my world and be there for the people in my life. And now, I feel this powerful compulsion: I’m going home. I don’t have time to work it all out; make it all okay. I’m being called home, and everything in me is answering the call. Yes, I will still handle what must be dealt with in my life. And next year will be an active one for me. But now, I’m going home.
However the past year has gone—all the success and all the challenges—this is a time of peace and rest. It is the evening of the year. It is the Sabbath of our annual journey around the Sun.
The word heaven is from an Old English word. It is an ancient word with Norse, Frisian, and German roots.
Some think of heaven as a place you go to after you die—if you’ve been good. Jesus had a different view. He said it was at hand—here now.
Heaven is the invisible dimension of the Reality in which we live. It is the place within ourselves and all people where the qualities of home reside. It is a place where Love and comfort are present. It is a place where we feel most ourselves.
Living there, we touch into the creative powers available to us—the power of Love that resides in the heaven of our Being and in the heaven of the world in which we live. At the time of the solstice, we are called home to heaven.
Heaven is the home of homes. There are many homes on the planet, or at least many dwelling places. A home is a home when heaven is in the home and when the people in the home are living in that heaven. Then there is home in the home.
If there is no heaven in a home, it is not a home. It reminds me of what my mother used to say when we, as children, quarreled: This place is H-E-L-L.
If you take heaven out of the home, what is left? The shadow of home. The hollow family. You can be lonely sitting all by yourself in your house. But you can be drop-dead lonely in the middle of a bunch of people, too. Loneliness isn’t just about social contact. If there’s no heaven with the people in the home, there is loneliness. And yet, whatever happens, we have an opportunity to come home.
Shall we come home together? This time of year calls for that. We can gather around the fire or socialize in whatever way, and maybe we should. But are we coming home together? That’s where I’m going. I’m going home. Do you want to go home? We could go home together. We could have that experience and answer that call. We could meet our Creator. We could have direct contact with the very heart of Love. We could come to the place where we know others and are known, where we see and are seen. We could take off whatever armor we might be wearing that helped us get through the year, drop our tools, and come home to confess the deepest experiences of our soul.
Real home is where you can place your life on the altar. You can lay down your burdens and sit by the hearth, by the fire that burns within your own soul.
There is a time for creation and a time for industriousness, and then there’s a time that is the evening of the year. This is the Sabbath of the year, a time of rest, not just in the sense of putting your feet up. It is a time to come to the home of homes.
We have the opportunity of sharing the updraft of that experience. It takes letting go of whatever has happened over the course of the year. It takes entering the experience of heaven.
We are part of all the majesty and wonder of heaven. We are part of the Creative Being of this planet and solar system who live in heaven. That’s why, when we have a deeper experience of the home of homes—of heaven—we know we belong there. We are not a sinner, hoping we get sent there because we behaved well. Heaven is where we came from; that is who we are, no matter how much we may have forgotten of it, no matter how badly we’ve screwed up, individually or collectively, as humankind. Our past actions and experiences have not changed Reality.
Heaven is part of Reality, even if human beings want to airbrush this dimension of Reality out of their experience and pretend that the physical and psychological world simply evolved over time. And why would anybody airbrush the home of homes out of their experience? Why would anybody choose to ignore the dimension of themselves that radiates warmth and Love when that is the only creative starting point for a peaceful and prosperous world? Ignoring heaven has to be a mostly unconscious decision.
If we begin with a false assumption as the initiation point for our life, the results can’t be good. Many Christian traditions teach that we are all sinners. No matter how hard you try to be good, if your starting assumption is that you are a sinner, that is likely to be where you end up—as a sinner sinning. Here is a different starting point: Heaven is calling me home. Heaven is where I belong, now and always.
I’m going home. How about you? We could go home together.