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Light in our darkness – an overwhelming image this year?

Are there more lights in the streets this Christmas and have they arrived earlier? Our road is festooned with glittering trees and bushes and most windows already seem to have brightly lit trees in them. We shall have to catch up!

I’m thinking that this year the longing for light in our darkness is much stronger than usual and at whatever level, many people are keen to demonstrate and visualise this as clearly as possible. Hence the greater profusion of lights and swirling house front messages I feel.

This morning, Tuesday, there was another ray of light as the first person was vaccinated and so the light at the end of the tunnel imagery is coming to the fore. This time of year we are obviously thinking theologically about the Light coming into the world, and in a week or two, at the winter solstice the year starts to turn around again! So an overload of imagery, analogy and reality.

A couple of years ago I wrote in this column about an old poster I saw in a Yorkshire village museum that advertised a special service on December 22nd to celebrate the year’s turning and the prospect of longer and brighter days ahead. I linked this to the image of a single lighted candle we have kept in all our safeguarding training course materials, that represents the glimmer of light that a survivor of abuse told us they had glimpsed when we published our Past Cases Review report back in 2015.

As the vaccine gets rolled out, as the year turns, as we celebrate Christ’s birth and as we launch the survivor penned study guide that was referenced here two weeks ago, we hope the safeguarding candle will start to burn even brighter in 2021.

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