'Winter can be symbolic of the spaces in my heart that seem cold, dark, barren, empty, fallow, dormant, infertile, inactive - a hard place to be, a place that invites me, if I can, to wait for the thaw and the melting that leads to new life.' ~Finola Cunnane'
Ireland and much of Europe has been gripped by freezing Artic conditions. The icy grip of winter has never been as early before with temperatures plumetting to -9C and lower in places. The cold snap looks like continuing for another week at least. On a spiritual level, winter and the icy conditions can speak to us too. We have just begun our journey through the season of Advent. It's starting point is recognising that we all have cold, dark, barren, empty and bleak places within. We should not feel that it's just you or me. These places are within every person. It can indeed be a tough place to be, but one that we can also move out of too. The invitation of Advent is to allow God breathe new life, hope, energy and a sense of new beginnings into all those cold, dark and dreary places in our lives. This is something we all yearn and long for. Every big freeze up always has a turning point and a thaw sets in. These coming weeks of Advent could be that turning point.