A nice little circularity here - the Northumbria Community readings repeat the Isaiah verses with which I began my Advent reflections, and couple them with two other bits:
Even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
I will give you the treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name... I form the light and create darkness, I bring prosperity and create disaster; I, the LORD, do all these things
1 Corinthians 4:5
Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of human hearts. At that time each will receive praise from God
The darkness passes, light returns... we celebrate again the word made flesh.
I cannot know how life is for the majority of people generous enough to read this blog, indeed there are many whose names I will never know. I don't want to say twee or naff things about this day, because some of you will be struggling to come to terms with tragedy, some of you will be stressed, some of you will be angry, some of you will be bewildered... But on this day we dare to hope again that peace will pervade the earth, that joy will prove unstoppable and that love will transform even the hardest of hearts.
May God bless each and every one of you this day, and grant you, and those you love, a hope-filled, peaceful, joyful and loving 2012.