The festive season that begins with Thanksgiving brings with it a lot of reflections. The first thought for many of us might be, “Is it that time of year already?” The way the years seem to go faster reminds us to be more conscious, more aware, more thankful every day. We get a lovely reminder, here at the Harbour Town Lighthouse. The stunning sunset is a little different every day, and yet it seldom fails us to remind us of our good fortune to be here. As winter comes on, the sunset appears earlier and earlier, and appears to edge slowly farther south with each passing day.
At the lighthouse, our days and seasons and rhythms serve as reminders. Who could forget to feel at least a little grateful as that sun nears the horizon and flings a painter’s palette of orange and magenta, blue and purple across the western sky?
Welcoming the Reminders
The holidays too are reminders. Human history shows us examples, as far back as we can see, of the efforts people made to observe, to remember, or to celebrate the things of value. Home, family, security, faith, growth, and the gifts of posterity – the sense that something important to us will carry on after us. All these are the subjects of holidays and sacraments and special occasions. Many holiday customs are so familiar that we face the hazard of forgetting what they’re all about. Some have even gathered so many trappings that their real purpose might be obscured.
A friend who spent his career in a notoriously high-pressure industry says that Thanksgiving became his favorite holiday by a wide margin during that time. “You could always count on four days, for one thing,” he said. Depending on what day December 25th fell in a given year, Christmas could range from hurried to frantic. The fact that Thanksgiving didn’t involve fighting crowds or carrying gifts through airports for a far-flung family also probably played a part.
And yet, Thanksgiving is just the beginning.
A Whole Season of Connections
The origin story of Pilgrims and Indians generosity and fellowship reminds us of connections. Of the idea that while our goals and visions might be individual, realizing them is rarely done alone.
It’s a fact that’s with us year-round, although we may welcome the reminder. Connection is an idea that clearly was in the mind of Sea Pines founder Charles Fraser, when he insisted on a lighthouse, as a marker, a reminder, a beacon, giving us a sense of place. We look forward now to a whole season of celebration. What’s going on, when we see the bigger picture, is finding that we are among people who understand. We can relax, lower our guard. And some kinds of magic seem to happen then.
Ever notice how more good things follow when we’re happy about what we’ve got? People who give a lot of thought to that kind of thing say that gratitude and grace are linked together – speaking of connections. And by grace, this time we mean good things coming from beyond our own reach. At the Harbour Town Lighthouse, we are wishing you the finest holiday season in memory. Please join us. This is only the beginning.