In the second of her meditations for the journey to Christmas, Sr Teresa White finds that even in these bleak days there is a light shining in the darkness
Joy and hope, gifts of the Spirit, are at the heart of the season of Advent. Global warming may have begun to change our seasonal expectations, yet even so, in December, with nature at her least inviting in the Northern Hemisphere – trees bare, daylight hours at their shortest, weather often bleak, signs of spring mostly invisible – Advent can be a gloomy time. But with Christmas on the near horizon, as children well know, these winter weeks are a time for dreaming dreams, and dreams transform reality, make it hopeful, make it joyful.
It is often in the darkness of midwinter that, as the poet Cavafy says: “The days of our future stand in front of us / like a row of little lit candles / golden, warm, and lively little candles”. As we look forward to Christmas, the candles of Advent inspire us to make preparations for the coming of Jesus, to make changes in our lives to prove the sincerity of our desire to welcome him. Advent is when the changes begin; Christmas is when life is renewed.