THE SEASON AHEAD
Let There Be Light
“Chill the night wind moans and sighs, On the sward the stubble dies; Slow across the meadows rank, Float the cloud-rifts grim and dank; On the hill-side, bare and brown, Twilight shadows gather down, — ’Tis December.”
December marks the start of winter in the northern hemisphere, with crisp days and colder nights – and even snow forecasted for some countries. Trees shed their leaves, animals go into hibernation, signs of nature appear to retreat. This shift signals the end of the year and the passing of summer. We have reaped the abundance of autumn, to prepare ourselves for the possibility of a harsh winter. The season and its themes of endings, isolation and loss have inspired some of the most-emotive art and literature around the world.
However, we would be mistaken to interpret it as an entirely sombre or bleak season. Because it precedes the spring, winter also brings messages of rebirth and resilience. Many see images in nature like December flowers as proof that hope can be found even in our darkest moments. Holly, for example, is yet another of the season’s symbols of eternal life. As part of an Advent wreath, holly represents Jesus’s crown of thorns, while the four candles symbolise hope, faith, joy and peace.