Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice – the darkest time of year. I find it fascinating that we engage in strange capitalist rituals where we madly shop, buy things we would not ordinarily buy, and discover/place an abundance of carefully selected and beautifully wrapped secrets under a “Christian” tree. A large percentage of folks in Western culture celebrate Christmas. But not always without inner conflicts about its connection to consumerism.

Let’s take a deeper look.

In natural rhythms and cycles of the seasons, at least in our largely northern hemisphere collective ancestry, Christmas falls near the winter solstice, the darkest time of the year. In our not too distant past, we very literally experienced dwindling food supplies, struggles to remain healthy and warm, and dark and cold that was unmitigated by electricity and fossil fuels. Reaching deep inside to affirm that the light was returning, that abundance would come, that spring rebirth would bring the promise of continuing for another year, we celebrated.

Celebration in the time of darkness is a prayer.

Celebration is a way of claiming our birthright to life’s gifts. It is a way of remembering abundance when we experience lack. We think about what we need, what we have to give, and what makes others happy. While I admire the ethics: buy local, buy handmade, and buy in ways that help others, I think we tend to overlook another very important ethic. Buy, and give and receive, with intention.

Why intention… and what do you want for Christmas?

When we make our holiday purchases with conscious intention, we can feed the prayer for true abundance. When asked what you want “for Christmas,” let yourself reach for what you would not ordinarily ask for. When you give or receive a gift, surrender more deeply into the act of giving, and receiving. Perhaps there is an old habit or pattern that is ready to die in the darkness of the season.

While surrendering to the darkness, we can imagine all that we can be.

This season as the light returns, let us stretch beyond our comfort zone. Let us reach for the world we want to live in. Let us allow in the love and support that helps us move away from reactions based upon fear and toward the joy and passion of being who we really are. Let us uncover what we we are capable of creating. Our darkest moments are our greatest gifts, because within them lie the opportunity to surrender to new possibilities.

As we move into 2014, may our wildest dreams manifest before our very eyes.