Christmas morning sunrise

Christmas morning sunrise

Some of you may know we live within the boundaries of an Ojibway Indian reservation.  Traditional Native Americans, those who honor the ways of their elders, often greet the rising sun with a pinch of tobacco.  This tobacco contains sacred herbs like sweet grass, sage, cedar and other “medicines”.  They do this to give thanks for the rising of the sun, for the dawning of a new morning, for the blessings of being alive to experience another day.

I am imagining what it might have been like to live in a small wigwam or hut a couple hundred years ago.  Although you’d fall asleep snuggled beneath cozy deer or bear hides, with a fire crackling in the center of the hut, you’d undoubtedly awake shivering and cold.  And, although the elders assured you that this time of darkness wouldn’t last forever, you might feel the immensity of the winter snows, black nights, frigid temperatures.

Imagine the appreciation of the rising sun you might feel.  Imagine the gratitude for its warmth, its light, its beauty, its spirit-lifting presence.  Perhaps you wouldn’t take this golden orb for granted.  Perhaps you’d offer a bit of preciousness to the Creator that allows the sun to rise yet another day.

I snapped this picture in the early-morning light and hurried back inside to drink coffee with family members, to open gifts, to share breakfast and laughter.  I think we all felt grateful on this day to be alive, to be together (those of us here in the U.P. anyway) and we spoke of friends and family in far-away places.  We missed everyone, but already anticipated when we would spend time together as the year progressed.  And there would be phone calls of connection later on….

This afternoon I returned to tramp through the snow, mostly across the road.  Snowshoes shall be needed soon!  It’s between calf and knee deep, depending on drifts.  If you walk really slowly, meditatively, it’s not too challenging. 

Today the sun has shone brightly all day.  This is a real gift at this time of year.  How many days pass filled with gray clouds.  The blue sky lifts spirits everywhere….people smile more frequently.  Even though the journey of the sun only reaches half-way up the trees, there’s an incredible beauty in the way the light glints and glitters against the snow.  At 25 degrees it feels balmy. 

Gratitude fills my heart this Christmas Day.  Gratitude for the sun, for the earth, and for friends and family everywhere.  Blessings and love to all…..