And today, of course, is that pivotal point in the calendar: midwinter, the longest night. However gloomy and rainy today and subsequent days might be, we know that the nights will not get any longer; in fact, slowly, imperceptibly, they can only start getting shorter. O joy!!
The other day, as I was switching on lights, it occurred to me that both of the church's major feasts begin in the darkness of the night and centre on light. We begin celebrating Christmas - that silent, holy night - at Midnight Mass, where we are reminded that the people that walked in darkness has seen a great light. Here, in the depths of winter gloom, that light can seem tiny and fragile, just as a baby is... although we also know, as the evangelist John says, that the darkness cannot overpower it. And then, a few months later, we gather around a fire at the Easter Vigil, to proclaim that Christ is our light! Not only has the light not been overpowered by darkness, it has now given us a glorious night truly blessed, when heaven is wedded to earth... which, of course, is what Christmas night is as well!
And as one of my favourite Christmas songs is O Night Divine, all this pondering gives me an excellent excuse to share this version, complete with video clips from The Nativity. A lovely song to sing in the winter darkness, as we prepare for the coming of that Light, both tiny and great, all at once.