In the bleak midwinter

On Christmas Day 2022 I recall a walk near home in Advent 2006

a wayfarer’s notes

Christmas is the most renowned of all the world’s festivals. It’s full of drama and contrast and potent symbols. Like many, I dread the tawdry commercialisation, sentimentality and ubiquity of this season’s trappings. But I see it differently now, having spent an entire year celebrating the daily advance and decline of Nature’s rhythms in the hills, woods and fields, in all weathers.decfield

I went out on a windy wet afternoon at sunset. The ground was waterlogged and the fields were desolate near Amersham Old Town, which keeps a memorial to its Protestant martyrs burned at the stake in the sixteenth century, for committing the heresy of reading the Bible in their own English tongue.

I thought of the peasants of Amersham in the days when they’d rely upon their priest or wandering friar for tales of the Christ-child’s birth in a lowly stable, which they could imagine only too well…

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