Celebration season

The alignment of the stars has been warning us that this is the week winter will be arriving on the midnight train, followed closely by Santa with his elfin crew of airborne reindeer, laden with gifts for those chosen few of the younger generation who have successfully passed their childhood behavioral tests allowing Santa to fill their stockings with gifts.

Historians tell us the celebration of Christmas originated as a welcoming of the winter solstice when the life-giving sun ceases its southward drift and the restoration of daylight in the northern hemisphere begins. Our early ancestors, declared to be pagans, celebrated the winter solstice around the date we began our Christmas celebration.

By any measurement, this week of celebration of the winter solstice passage provides endless days and nights of financial exchange and family celebrations, based on a tradition of giving gifts and helping others, begun by St. Nicolas in about the third century and further kept in vogue by the author of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” when Santa Claus entered our lives.