I suppose my favourite theme of Christmas is that of the Three Wise Men, or Magi, because I’ve been fascinated by the idea of astronomer priests for as long as I can remember. I love many of the other trappings of Christmas, such as the carols, the idea of a serene landscape blanketed with snow and so on, but there is something about the idea of ancient “watchers of the skies” being spurred into action by seeing a celestial portent that strikes a profound and very satisfying chord inside me.
I have to admit, though, that my fondness for this theme seems to have no bearing on reality in late 2016. The news this year has been unrelentingly grim, as it seems to have been a combination of the loss of many of our favourite artists set against a background of incessant human suffering, all of which we’re seemingly powerless to prevent.
Given the vast pool of talented individuals from the worlds of acting and music that came into being in the 1960s and given the sheer hatred that seems to permeate human relations at so many levels, it is difficult for me to see how 2017 can be much of an improvement on the dreary, exhausting year that’s now coming to an end.
For my part, the Ides of March in 2016 laid me low, while I was witness to a few other personal tragedies in my weakened state and all this caused me to draw on resources I didn’t realise I possessed. For this reason, I now realise with almost unnatural clarity just how lucky I am, so I intend to use this awareness of my fortunate state to propel me into 2017 and to make it one of the most productive years of my time here on Earth.
And for all my family and friends, by whose presence I consider myself blessed, I hope that the coming year brings you happiness and contentment, whatever your situation and whatever your aims and goals might be. We’re all on this pale blue dot in space together, the only home we’ve ever known, so it’s incumbent on us all to love one another, to treat each other and our Earth kindly, and to enjoy our time here.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.