The early Christians were clever to choose this time of year to celebrate Christ's birth which is almost certainly dateless - who was around to record the birth of an unknown peasant's infant in a manger of all places? There were records of births, though - the Romans liked to keep tallies and there were taxes to pay, just like now - money to be made even out of the poor and needy. Linking a new religion with the dark, dying year, and the Roman festival of Saturnalia - over-spending, over-eating, and lots of pretty lights - had to be a win-win situation, and boy, did it win!
The same basic human feelings have also inspired Hanukah, the Jewish Festival of Lights, and also Diwali. People protest against darkness. Bad things can happen to you in the dark, and if all you really know comes from your local 'holy' men, then Spring itself may never come again. Yet only in real darkness, can we begin to comprehend where we are in the only universe we're really familiar with, and it's the only context in which I'd use that unlovely Americanism 'awesome', because Space (or whatever you choose to call it) is just that - awe-inspiring and scary. We are very, very small, but we are also 'awesome'.
From the Infinite to knickers - yes, knickers, because in one of my 80s incarnations I pitched a design for knickers - a new knicker concept - to the Dior company. I'd always made stuff, and having briefly encountered lined couture trousers, I came up with the idea of a trousers 'petticoat' - a lining you just pulled on, like knickers, but which went all the way down to your ankles, and yes, it worked - it even had a write-up in The Times, and I have a close friend in America who still wears them. Writers have many faces.
So from knickers to Saturnalia (well, why not?) and all those glorious sunsets in between,
I hope you've all had a fantastic Christmas, and will have an amazing, but above all, peaceful 2017.