2nd January 2022

Christmas is past, the season when we remember and honour God becoming man and so linking heaven and earth, matter and spirit, love and justice. But that promise has fallen short and our world, its people and its planet, are suffering. Too much of so many religions has been caught up with maintaining the status quo, with divisiveness, control and patriarchy instead of the love and justice promised for all. This is a critical time for our planet, and we look to find new ways (which are often old ways) of bringing the healing and understanding we need.

This is a time for acknowledging that the spirit is at work in all of us, whatever our creed or lack of creed, and in all the life forms of our planet. This is a time for recognising that we and God are not best served by the emphasis on masculine terms and attributes for deity, we must restore the divine feminine and so bring that unity in the godhead into our world. This is the time for working together in hope and love and justice.

Symbols of hope

We have just passed the solstice, the shortest day of the year. It hid behind tatters of snow and the fear of more. It hid behind the focus on Christmas and the bustle to be ready. Silently, mysteriously, we have now moved back from the brink and are inexorably heading into the light, although it still feels the same, although the cold still hugs us like a friend.

The beginning of the return of the sun is also the beginning of winter. Like the yin and yang symbol where each has the other in its centre, we are not abandoned to winter, we are climbing back to the light, we are living in the rebirth of hope.

Hope is essential currency when so much of the fullness of living is shut away. We know the sun and summer will return, our hope is a solid substance that pulls us through the night. In the old days the return of the sun hung on our shoulders, interwoven with our celebrations, and our symbols of hope were the living greens that never died, the holly and the ivy.

We no longer honour the ways of the sun and the cycles of plants in the same way. But we all still fear and face the long death. That is why Christmas nestles in its cradle of dark – not just to celebrate the gift of light but to remember the gift of God, coming to live with us when the days were bleak, sharing with us the power to outlast death.