Goodness me. Another Christmas has rolled around.
2021 has been quite a year. As if to cement the drama, my family has finally been hit by covid, having previously managed to dodge it through two years of pandemic. Unfortunately, it got me a couple of days ago, meaning all Christmas plans have been thrown into disarray, and I’ll not be able to see elderly relatives this year. Plus, you know, I feel pretty grotty.
Events like this are a reminder that life doesn’t always respect your plans, and all you can do is adapt to the situation at hand.
As for many other families, death has come uncomfortably close to us this year. Some of those elderly relatives I can’t visit because of the virus won’t be with us next Christmas. Some friends and family left us for good this year – a couple, unexpectedly. A sobering reminder that midwinter is often the darkest part of the year in more ways than one.
But, it is also the start of a new year, and Christmas has always seemed to me a poignant festival. It’s inherited some of the pagan traditions of bringing nature into the home in the darkest recesses of winter, and having a huge feast – fiercely defiant in the face of a bitter, frozen world. Added to that ancient rebellion against death, is the Christian vision of the birth of a redeemer, a guiding star, an embodiment of divine hope.
You don’t necessarily need to accept any of those beliefs to be stirred by the spirit of rebirth, and the optimism of looking towards the deliverance of spring.
I’ve talked before about the importance of archetypal stories in making sense of the world, and this is a good example of the principle. The end of the year, and the hibernation of winter, is also a prelude to the coming of spring.
So, with those slightly maudlin thoughts from an ill and dreary Dr L out of the way, I’d like to wish everyone in the LwL community a Happy Christmas and a Purposeful New Year.
Wherever you are, whatever is going on in life, there is always hope for a brighter year to come.