A very merry Christmas to you! And I hope you haven't been too put off by the snow being bothersome. I certainly haven't been.
Christmas is meaning something different to me this year than in previous years. I'm trying hard to dodge the bustle of shoppers, and the sugar coating of the nativity story. I'm not even that fond of some of the carols, 'Away in a Manger' among them, it's just to pretty, too unrealistic in comparison to what actually happens in the Christmas story.
Each year it seems to get more and more watered down, described more like a fairy tale. I almost want to duck out of it altogether, and back into past years before there was a red-cloaked Santa. I enjoy the family-orientated side of things as much as the next person, but I just want to take it back to how it was years ago, when there was a little less consumerism, and a little more awareness of good and evil, light and darkness.
I see why we layered the celebration of Christmas over the old yule festivals, and the winter solstice too, since they do have some strong thematic similarities between them. The idea of hope entering the world during it's darkest time, the promise of a new future, a milestone of change. The act of deliberately celebrating winter's end during the darkest, iciest days of the year is one of definace, of planting light amidst darkness, knowing it will shine out. The Bible describes Jesus this way, as the 'Light of the World' that the darkness cannot overcome (John 1:4-5)
For me this time of year, when the cold sets in and we abandon exploration in favour of bundling up indoors, is a time for retreat, introspection, and looking back into the past -rather nostalgically I'll admit. Folk songs and traditional tunes start to take over my playlists -many of my Christmas songs have a darker edge to them.
I love the bare brittle nature of winter too. The beauty in the stark bleakness that falls over everything. The natural end of the year, and the harmony that still exists in the death of the world. So naturally I've been out with my camera.
With all this snow my usual routes were transformed and some photos came out more like Christmas cards. You can view them all on my Flickr page, but theose up here are one or two of my favourites: