Winter Is Coming!

"Winter is coming!" This was the solemn warning of a friend just after he pointed to the gloom outside, and gloomily told me, “The nights are drawing in.” 

As I write this, the sky is indeed dark, a chilly rain is lashing against the window, and I am shivering as I haven’t turned on my heating yet. 

The Danish have a particular way of surviving winter which they call “hugge.” They draw the curtains, light a fire, turn up the heating, light candles around the house, put on some jumpers, make hot drinks such as mulled wine or blueberry soup, snuggle under blankets, and talk to each other. The Danes also sleep for longer during winter than we do.

This got me thinking: is there a version of theological hugge in the Scriptures? How can we strengthen ourselves during the dark nights of winter?

Well, the Scriptures speak first of justice (Isaiah 58.6-7). We can begin keeping a holy Autumn by caring for the homeless, and others who cannot afford the luxurious comfort that our Danish brothers and sisters celebrate. Fuel poverty is a real concern in our Diocese: many people simply cannot afford to heat even one room at home. As Isaiah suggests, the kindest thing might be to invite people who might be finding it difficult to keep warm into our home for an evening or two. And if we can’t afford to keep warm, it’s important to tell our friends so that they can care for us.

This is also a good time of year to consider our support for the Cathedral Archer Project.

Any serviceable warm clothes or sleeping bags are truly appreciated, as are the many gifts we will be receiving for Harvest.

Finally, during this dark time of the year our Scripture readings and hymns are full of light, returning again and again to a picture of God shining in the gloom to give us light, warmth, and hope. I suggest making a short list of Scripture readings and hymns which particularly nourish hope in you, and returning to them often as we snuggle down in winter.

Peter Bradley
The Dean of Sheffield