The longest night is very close now. The dark comes before we know it, and lasts so long. On these western fringes our fires burn small – pinpricks of light in the wide darkness. The warmth of summer, the plenty of autumn – these are memories. Food is hoarded against the midwinter feasting, and after that we will hunger a little.
If we look to the north, we see only the night. Further west there is the wide restless sea – and nothing. In the southern sky, there is a bright star with a lesser in attendance. But it is to the east that we look, the eastern sky where the rim of light will grow, the distant lands where, long ago already, something wonderful happened. More wonderful still: it happens again and again, coming to assuage our darkness at the year’s turning, bringing light to the hidden places of our hearts, promising us that we have not been forgotten.
It is dark now, but it will be light. The child will bring it. Come, Lord Jesus.
There is so little daylight at this time of year in Scotland. Over the Christmas break it has been very wet, windy and dark. Michael McIntyre talks about being in Glasgow. He notes that when opening the curtains in the morning the room gets darker. Whilst this is meant for laughs it has been feeling like that over the last couple of weeks. The days are very short and it has been very dark and gloomy. 2012 has been a very wet year and we have felt this very keenly. The rain has stopped us getting out for long walks over the holiday. The poor light has stopped me taking many photos with the new lens I was given for my birthday.
In the middle of winter we need to remember the light. The open fire brings us warmth as well as light. The Christmas decorations are provide a sense of light and life. The candle flame flickers and lights up the dark corners. We need the reminder of brighter times and lighter days. At times like these I tell anyone who will listen that I would like to live somewhere warmer and brighter. I don’t. I live in the west of Scotland. I grew up here. In the midst of the darkness we need to remember the light.
So as we head to another new year and reflect on the passing on the old I am minded to think on the darkness around and the light we can be. The days are very short and it can feel very dark. We need to be like the candle flame. We need to light up the darkness. No matter how dark it is we need to be light.