During a night out in London last night I was stopped, just for a moment, with the beauty of light.
It seems these last weeks have been a bonanza of busy – shopping, planning, gatherings, celebrations, deadlines – so much going on. Then in the middle of central London as I walked onto Monmouth Street just near Soho I was swept away by the most beautiful lights.
These lights weren’t anything out of the ordinary by Christmas standards. White lights in branches of trees surrounded by outlines of Robins and Pigeons. Maybe there’s more beautiful lights around …
But in that moment the beauty of light arrested me and I was reminded once again of this age-old symbol of spirit, soul and faith. Whether in Islam (Nūr or the Arabic: النور), in the Hindu Festival of Light in Diwali, in the references in the Jewish Scriptures to the Light created or in the New Testament arrival of the “light that shines in the darkness” (John 1:5) – there has always been something other than about light.
Weeks ago whilst creating a Labyrinth in Sheffield Cathedral with one of the team there I went to sit in a chapel for inspiration. This moment became heavenly not through beautiful art, liturgy or praise but by a single lit candle … dancing as it touched the gentle breezes flowing through the building. It was sublime.
At Christmas we can remember this light whatever place we come from. Light overcomes even the greatest darkness and says to our world which hurts so much … there is hope.
If you feel able to, why not light a candle each day over this Christmas period and spend a few minutes in front of it. Ask for hope for yourself, for your loved ones and for our world.
‘In this phial,’ she said, ‘is caught the light of Eärendil’s star, set amid the waters of my fountain. It will shine still brighter when night is about you. May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.
(From Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien)