People of our time are losing the power of celebration. Instead of celebrating we seek to be amused or entertained. Celebration is an active state, an act of expressing reverence or appreciation. To be entertained is a passive state--it is to receive pleasure afforded by an amusing act or a spectacle... Celebration is a confrontation, giving attention to the transcendent meaning of one's actions. – Abraham Heschel

During many celebrations this time of year, humans come together to shine a light against the darkness of winter months. Instead of retreating to our homes to await warmer times, we have the unique chance to use music, laughter and light to spread our collective voices through the night, proclaiming that together, we will not live in fear and darkness.

Choosing to actively celebrate (and not just seeking passive wintertime entertainment) reminds us how exceptionally fortunate we are in several specific ways.

We are alive. We are living in the present moment. We breathe the night air, and walk the lighted paths. We may be unsure of the future, but we have a moment, right here, in which to celebrate the miracle of being born and making it this far.

We have one another. We are blessed to have neighbors, co-workers, friends, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, friends, lovers and partners. These connections become even more special in times of winter reflection, as we celebrate their impact on our lives, which cannot truly be measured in any way but within our own hearts.

We have reasons to hope. We may live in a world in which it seems like all known things and future outcomes are predictable and determinable. Yet we celebrate the fact that each day brings new possibilities, and the chance to build something great with our lives through effort and perseverance – indeed, that’s the only way anything worthwhile has ever been accomplished.