I usually love this time of the year with its crisp air, sweet smells, and joyful song. But this year I am having trouble getting into that spirit. This year I'm scared. This year I want to be joyful and I want to spread the cheer and I want to celebrate -- but I'm sad.
Gratification still feels good. It is central to our brain's reward and motivation systems. But when we confuse it with actual happiness, we think that we can't really be happy -- or that our kids won't be happy -- without all the gifts and shopping.
As we come toward the time of the winter solstice and a few days later the celebration of Christmas, we are reminded once again of the primal mystery of darkness and light, and the light being born in the darkness.
In this pluralistic society amid many traditions, people might ask themselves, "What do I believe?" Behind the decorations, "In whom or in what do I trust above all things?" Going deeper into our beliefs can guide our devotion and actions.