A Light In The Darkness | Pushing the Wave

A Light In The Darkness

Opinion, 23 December 2022
by L.A. Davenport
Winter scene in Greenwich Park, London
Winter scene in Greenwich Park, London
This week, of all weeks, is not a week to complain, nor to bore one another with the tedium of daily life, nor to criticise. It is a time to celebrate.

Yes, it is Christmas, not the Holidays, and the very name points to its origins in the birth of Christ and all that that signifies, even to this day. But the festival that we celebrate this time each year has shifted, perhaps irrevocably, away from that meaning, and towards something more universal. To something about coming together to spend time in the darkness of winter with those closest to us, to bring a little light into our lives before we part again to continue our journey in life. That is something that to which everyone, no matter their religion or background, can join.

This has, for many, been a year of hardship and want, not just here at home, with many suffering daily in the crises that touch us all, but all around the world. I don’t talk politics in my writing, and I am certainly not going to start here, but the hardship and pain that we have witnessed in Ukraine and elsewhere has been truly heartbreaking. The Ukrainians are brave and dignified people, and I hope that they can live in peace and prosperity, or at least rebuild their country and call it their own, whatever that may mean, in the near future.

On a more personal note, I hope that, for all of us, we are able to see beyond the day-to-day, and any difficulties we may have had between us, and remember what binds us and makes us one.

Each country has the chance to welcome all those who live and are born within its borders into its family of people. I would like to think, having seen so much destruction and anguish, and so many attempts to drive us apart through extremism and hate, that we can, individually and collectively, strive to remember that our neighbour is no different from us and, indeed, we should love our neighbour as ourself.

I mentioned previously that I read A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens every year as part of my getting into the mood of the season (and because it is a brilliant story, brilliantly told). So, I shall leave you with a few words from Scrooge’s nephew when he is trying to convince his uncle of the virtues of the season:

“I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time…as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time: the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.”
Christmas, apart from all the above, would not be Christmas without Christmas films, of course.

I watch The Muppet Christmas Carol every year, true, but I also like a good Christmas film. Last year, after an incredibly difficult and worrying week spent in hospital and with no time to do any preparations, we flopped down on the sofa and watched that classic Christmas movie Die Hard with a takeaway pizza and some bubbles, and felt grateful to be all back home and able have a proper Hollywood escape.

Yesterday, after a long but nowhere near as stressful week, I suggested we watch Batman Returns, starring Danny DeVito and Michelle Pfeiffer alongside Michael Keaton, not at all remembering that it is set at Christmas time. And what a fantastically entertaining Christmas film it is, full of details and layers that I hadn’t remembered from my last viewing of the film, maybe 15 years ago, or perhaps hadn’t appreciated at the time. The combination of Tim Burton and Batman, for me, works far, far better than Christopher Nolan, who takes himself and the stories far too seriously in his take on them.
© L.A. Davenport 2017-2024.

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A Light In The Darkness | Pushing the Wave