Merle Haggard sings the words of the song he wrote in 1973: “If we make it through December, we’ll be fine I know.”

 December is here, bringing diminishing light and deepening darkness. Summer and the golden fall have vanished. Haggard sings: “I shiver when I see the falling snow.”

Suddenly the rural countryside where I live is lit with houses outlined in blinking lights. The vibrant colorful displays illuminate the darkness, summoning the light that’s been lost. We light candles, build fires, hang red and green lights on cut trees stationed in our living rooms.

We cannot thrive without light.

Haggard sings, “I don’t mean to hate Christmas; it’s meant to be the happy time of year.”

Many therapists report that the dark season and the heightened expectations for giving and for Christmas cheer are difficult for their clients. I feel more vulnerable to despair, and grieve the losses I’ve had during the year. Friends who suffer from depression (Seasonal Affective Disorder—an absence of light) turn on special lamps for phototherapy.

In the Christian faith tradition, the miracle of a savior is born at the height of the darkness: “I am the Light of the World.” Other traditions celebrate the Festival of Lights: Diwali and Hanukkah among them. The Society of Friends sees the God in every person, the light within.

I put a glowing salt crystal lamp on a table; its golden light reminds me that there is always light within the darkness.