Lots of people I know don’t like this time of year because of the dark nights and dark mornings. Here in northern England sunrise is near to 8:30 and the sun sets before 4pm… it is a dark and often wet and cold time of the year. The darkness seems to climb into people’s spirits and minds, they feel its pressure as though it somehow has power to disturb their peace. The lack of light externally somehow encroaches on the internal world.
I enjoy the dark evenings (not so much the dark mornings when it is hard to drag myself awake!). I like drawing the curtains, switching on the lights… and at the moment our street is full of twinkling cheer as many houses have Christmas lights to brighten their homes.
Something I have noticed this year is that more people than ever have put lights outside their homes. These lights shine more for other people than for the home owners. As I look out of my window, my neighbours houses are twinkling with lights, cheering up the street in the rain and darkness.
This has been a year where the little light each one of us has found within ourselves has had to be shared in tiny ways with neighbours, strangers and friends in order to help people along in whatever way we can. Mostly the big gestures of love and support haven’t been possible, but small acts of solidarity and generosity have swept right across the world.
The Christmas lights are a reminder of these small acts – that we are enfolded by light and the darkness allows that light to be seen more clearly.