In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan, earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone.
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow, in the bleak midwinter, long ago. Christina Rossetti.
I have only just realised that one of the reasons this may be my favourite carol is that it evokes memories of the stories of my birth in the bleak midwinter long ago. I need to ask Mum to tell me about it again… Today I remember again some of the memories from past birthdays and perhaps one of my favourite ones is having a cake that I could have for breakfast several days afterwards – big layered sponges with buttercream icing bought from the bakers near the bridge in London Street. Cake for breakfast always seems like such a treat! I remember birthday parties, the fun and games of pass the parcel or musical chairs, the more grown up trips to the cinema as a teenager and the milestones of 18 and 21 with family parties and some gifts I still have from all those years ago.
Today is my birthday – it is one of the many ways I measure a new year. On January 1st I write in my journal a few things I hope for during the year ahead. This year I am doing the same on my birthday – as the years go by time seems to get more precious and I want to make sure that I have reflected and wondered about what this year may hold as I have the capacity to make some of it happen if I am purposeful and attentive to the Holy Spirit. It feels a little more poignant than usual as it is a birthday my Dad never got to. I rarely do those endless facebook quizzes and I saw one about what age you really are. On the outside I am looking older – a few more grey hairs, a few more wrinkles, on the inside I still feel young, with a passion for life, an enjoyment in playing and an anticipation as I wake up each morning that today has tasks, encounters, moments and thoughts to make the most of.