Winter Spiral Festival

One of the first Winter Spirals I remember was at Garden Gate Preschool. It was a very cold evening. Snow was on the ground. We quietly gathered, hands on our little ones’ shoulders, their hands clutching bright red apples with candles in them, their eyes bright and expectant. The evergreen spiral with snow beneath it was a beautiful sight. Each child slowly stumbled along through the spiral to light their candle and then slowly stumbled outward, placing their candles all very near to each other. Light attracts light! However by the end, the spiral was ablaze with these sweet candles, all symbolizing the sweet souls of the children, their light in our lives.

As we gather together this Friday for our Winter Spiral, we do this as the light begins to return to our dark winter days. We will add to this light, spur it along, and mark this time of year in our children’s memories. Spirals are ancient symbols and natural phenomenons, found in cave paintings, archeological sites, snail shells, and sea shells. Labyrinths have been walked for centuries as part of rituals or simply as a way to calm the mind, reflect, and focus. I can feel how walking toward the center of a spiral brings my thoughts inward and how walking out of a spiral, I see the world around me.

As our children walk into the spiral and light their candle, we surround them on this journey. It is symbolic of our love and guidance. We are here to help them light their own inward path. After they place their candle and walk out, they see their community around them, quietly holding our own lights. They feel safe to be who they are. They know we are ready to step in if needed – in case a candle falls over or blows out.

At the end of our festival, parents will blow out their candles and the only light will be that from our children’s candles, within the spiral. We ask that you preserve this festival in your child’s mind, by leaving with your family at this time. Loud and rambunctious play at the park will erase much of the feeling that the festival created. Our children get many opportunities for this kind of play, but do they get many opportunities for quiet reflection?

Let us create a beautiful space for our children at the Winter Spiral. Let them have this beautiful moment, free from distractions or anything that trivializes the experience. Take some time on Friday reflecting with your family. What did you feel at the Winter Spiral? How does it feel to be quiet and calm? Can we find this place easily or is it difficult sometimes? How do we kindle our inner light? What things make it glow brighter? What things make it dim? Do you know what light you bring to my life?

I look forward to seeing you all on Friday. May we create a beautiful and lasting memory for our children, one that boasts gratitude and reflection.

Ms. Knapp-Weber