So we come to the beginning of another new year.  Mick and I have been here just over a month, boxes have been unpacked, walls painted, and pictures have been hung.  The books are now safely all in   alphabetical order!

We all want to have somewhere to call home, surrounded by familiar objects, places and, most of all, people.  It is a natural human desire to want to settle and to belong.  Having somewhere where we can ‘nest’ and feel safe is particularly important during the dark days of winter.  January and February can be particularly trying months and we seek the warmth and comfort of our homes. We draw the  curtains to keep out the dark and put on lights, light fires and  perhaps light candles too.

We have become afraid of the dark.  We have street lighting and  security lights on our houses, and, is it just me, or have car headlights got brighter?

But it is in the dark that light has its origin.  In the story of the creation in Genesis, God created light out of darkness, not the other way around.  It is at the darkest time of the year that the Christian church chose to celebrate the coming of God into the world.  It was through the darkness of death that Jesus brought resurrection into the whole of creation.

in the dark. Even more so perhaps because we are living in very uncertain times.  But we are also followers of Jesus Christ, who had no certainties in his earthly life.  He too was born into uncertain and dangerous times and he gave himself entirely to others, not knowing how they would react to his message and his actions.

It is in the dark days of winter that all of nature is preparing itself for spring.  It is not a ‘dead’ time, but a time when so many things have   allowed themselves to die away so that they may have the resources to regrow again in the spring. Darkness, is not just an absence of light.  It is a preparation for the light.  Darkness is part of new life and resurrection.

So, perhaps this January we should embrace the dark just a little bit.  Turn off your lights and go out and look up at the stars.  Light a candle and sit in the dark with it and look around at what is familiar to you, but see it in a new way.

Most of all, pray.  Pray that we may see that even in the darkest corners of the world, the Light of the World is there.  He has always been there.  We just need to adjust our eyes and our hearts and see that there is nowhere where this Light is not shining.  It is not the dark that we should be afraid of, but our own inability to see the Light within it.