For those in the northern hemisphere, its deep winter. Both in Europe and in the United States, they are facing an especially cold start to winter. Many will have a white Christmas, even in places where snow is unusual. Its cold and blustery outside. Perhaps frigid. But inside, the family has got together. The fireplace is exuding warmth. There's food on the table. There's a drink to warm the insides. There's a feeling of joy and togetherness. The spirit of Christmas.
And there's the coming New Year. Millions more, who are not Christians, will join in ushering out the old and welcoming in the new year. A time to look forward with hope for better times to come. For most of us, the year past might have been a mixed one. Some joys, some sorrows, some victories, some disappointments. Although it might appear that the bad was more than the good, nature actually deals us a reasonably even hand. Its time to forget the not so good times, and cheer for that which is to come.
Its also the season for resolutions. Make them, many do, for the New Year. Most break them soon enough. But in the season of hope, its entirely appropriate that we try to aspire for something that we would like to be. For its only hope and cheer that can see us through the winter.
For some, hope would be a difficult emotion to drum up. Perhaps homeless, shivering in the cold. Perhaps nature dealt them a bad hand. But even then, I hope, and pray, that the cheer in the air will ease some of the pain and make it a little more sunny for them.
As you would have gathered, this isn't a post with a theme or a message or an opinion. Its just a revel in the mood that I can feel. And therefore an incoherent ramble. By Indian standards, which might laughable elsewhere, there is a nip in the air. Not all is well with the world, but there is the feeling of cheer and hope. Its a wonderful feeling. A moment to savour. A time to thank the Lord (or the stars if you prefer it that way), for safely negotiating the year gone by. And a prayer (or an exhortation) to stand by and see us through the year to come.
Pause for a moment. Sniff the air. Imbibe the cheer. Take a deep breath and feel the hope in the lungs. And then, resolutely, march on.
Xin nian kuai le !