Not so many days now before we reach the shortest point of the year and to survive that as many pagans realised was something to be celebrated. After all from that point there is than a sense that we may begin to move into the light away from the dark night and the sombre days. Dark times which have a hint of unease and a lack of safety about them. Advent is the time of waiting and hoping and that can take place within bleakness.… And yet there is always a sliver of just maybe … just maybe things could change….

Thomas Merton wrote about the indestructible kernel of hope that is contained within Christmas and that this at all costs has to be grasped. He thought that Christmas was not just a sweet regression to breastfeeding and to infancy but was a serious and sometimes difficult feast. For in the middle of the darkness there is the possibility of a transformation brought by a shy and silent child who transforms the winter night into paradise. As Merton reminds us this is for those who, like the shepherds and the humble Kings come to find him where no one thinks of looking ‘in the obviousness and poverty of ordinary everyday life’.