Looking for the light
Having just exercised my personal censorship on this evening’s television news bulletin by walking away from the 10o’clock news, I have come to write my blog for the week.
Well sex scandals must be reported and lessons learnt and the public made aware of them. I can live with that on day one and probably even day two, but when we get to 10pm on day three and they are still plugging it as the top news item, I think I have had enough.
It is nearly Christmas and it would be good to hear about and to see items of news that reflect the hope and joy I believe should accompany the season of goodwill.
But I don’t want to turn this week’s blog into some sort of Christian sermon on the importance of charity and the significance of the nativity – possibly because I don’t really have any photographs that would qualify for that and this is supposed to be a photography blog.
So looking back over some recent images my mind turned to the theme of “light”. In some way or other I believe most people enjoy looking for and looking towards the light.
Last Sunday evening I was privileged to be allowed to share in a hastily arranged celebration of Hanukkah in Norwich, the Jewish Festival of light.
Clearly it was considered to be important to the Hebrew congregations of the city and important enough for a rabbi to come all the way from Manchester, with his wife and family, to mark the occasion with them in front of the Forum in Norwich.
In our family we celebrate the coming of Advent by lighting the first candle on our Advent ring and by holding a candle-lit supper with invited guests. Each week during Advent another candle is lit and on Christmas Day the final white candle symbolising the coming of Christ as the light of the world. It is good to see that towns and villages really do make an effort with lights and decorations – even if they do start a bit early.
However even earlier in the autumn is one of my favourite festivals of light, Diwali, celebrated by my Hindu and Sikh friends.
There is nothing quiet or discreet about this event. It is colourful, noisy and very attractive. It always feels like the act of banishing darkness in mortal combat.
The forces of light depicted often in flames illuminate the night, routing the darkness, colourful clothes are worn and terrific amounts of noise is made by drummers and musicians of all sorts. (See Qumran covenanters it wasn’t all for nothing)
For those of you who belong to a faith group and for those of you who do not, may you find and enjoy your light this Christmas or Hanukkah and may it give you joy and peace in the days ahead.