"The winter solstice celebrates the longest hours of darkness or the rebirth of the sun and is believed to hold a powerful energy for regeneration, renewal, and self-reflection. In Pagan times, the winter solstice was referred to as Yule and was a celebration of the Goddess (Moon) energy."
This is a photo of the church we used to go to for 16 years when we lived in Pittsburgh. It was the BEST church ever. It wasn't because of the priests because we never met them. It wasn't because we attended the cookie sales or the fundraisers because we didn't attend them. It wasn't because there they had a three-piece band playing music because this church did not do that.
It was the energy and power of this church that led my family and I there. It was the feeling we had when we entered the church, the warmness in our hearts, and the closeness we felt to our God. We would put our Sunday clothes on because it was a special day dedicated to prayer, and going to church in jeans and tee-shirt was not an option. We felt the vibration in our hearts as the pipe organ would play softly in the background as people came in to worship. It was the memories of my 12-year religious education that went through my head as I gazed at the gorgeous stained glass windows knowing what they and the colors represented.
When we left Pittsburgh in 2007, it was the last time we went to church. After experiencing this type of connection for 16 years, no other church comes close. This is so weird because I was talking to my husband about this yesterday and how I miss this church so bad!!!
On this Winter Solstice, day of self-reflection, so much goes through my head. Friends wonder why we don't go to church anymore, and other than the reasons I just mentioned here, it goes deeper than that. Church is not a place, it's a space in the heart. I don't have to let people know that "oh it's Sunday, and I'm in church now" because, for me, it goes deeper than that.
It's what's in your heart that counts. "For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them." Matthew 18:02 -that always stuck in my mind in my 12 years of Catholic school, so church is the heart, not the building.
Today, on the longest day of the year, I reflect on what's in my mind and in my heart. I am thankful for everything that I have and for the things I don't have because my life is perfect as it is, and I wouldn't change a thing. It's a life of constant change, constant energy. It's filled with the energy of Angels, Spirit, and I was blessed with gifts to help and connect with others in ways that I would have never imagined. Every day is my church, and I'm thankful for every day.
As Christmas comes closer, I keep the image of this church in my mind, always, but what's more important is the feeling that I have in my heart ... always. Happy Solstice.