Life frequently has periods of darkness. My own family are going through one of those ourselves at the moment, with redundancy and depression, gender issues, teenage trauma, empty nest syndrome and goodness knows what else.
It's funny how in these periods you rarely get hit with just one thing. No, it seems as though everything has to pile in on you at once, taking advantage of the fact that you're already weakened to better put the boot in.
At times like this, Christmas comes as a great reassurance. As a matter of fact, the 25th of December is not Christ's birthday at all, but someone in the early church made a fantastic psychological judgement call and decided that the deepest, darkest point of the winter would make the best time to celebrate the birth of someone who would heal everything – someone who would put everything right.
Christmas, so cunningly located only two or three days after the midwinter solstice, reminds me of every other time of distress in my life. When misfortune and misery accumulated to the point where they were literally unbearable, when I finally stopped trying to bear them and went to my knees, telling God that I could not go on – that was always the point where things began to get better.
We celebrate Christ's birth at the darkest time – at the time where winter suddenly stops growing stronger and begins to recede – because he is the thing that takes what we cannot endure and fixes it, heals us, turns despair into hope and winter into spring.
That doesn't mean we can expect it to happen all at once in a flashy miracle. Christ was a child when he was born. Then there were thirty odd years of him not doing much, and two or three where he walked about, talking to people. And then he saved the world. By – heh, I'm thinking repeated pattern here – by doing something that looked like defeat and death and misery from the outside, and turning it inside out.
So, yes. Sometimes it's easy to get het up in the fraught scurrying of preparation and family and 'will everyone still be speaking to me if I get the wrong presents?' of Christmas. But this year I find that it's the message of hope that speaks to me louder. It's in the darkest time that the light is kindled. It's when we feel worst that hope arrives, even if it still takes a little while afterwards to fully blossom.
Has this anything to do with my books? Not really. I don't think I have the gall to use Christmas as a sales tool. But if you are interested to know what sort of things I write, you can find them here:
http://alexbeecroft.com. I blog on http://alexbeecroft.com/blog and can also be found on Facebook and Twitter
Under the Hill: Bomber's Moon and Under the Hill: Dogfighters
About the Author: Alex Beecroft is an English author best known for historical fiction, notably Age of Sail, featuring gay characters and romantic storylines. Her novels and shorter works include paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary fiction.
Beecroft won Linden Bay Romance’s (now Samhain Publishing) Starlight Writing Competition in 2007 with her first novel, Captain’s Surrender, making it her first published book. On the subject of writing gay romance, Beecroft has appeared in the Charleston City Paper, LA Weekly, the New Haven Advocate, the Baltimore City Paper, and The Other Paper. She is an occasional reviewer for the blog Speak Its Name, which highlights historical gay fiction.
She is represented by Louise Fury of the L. Perkins Literary Agency
About the Author: Alex Beecroft was born in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and grew up in the wild countryside of the English Peak District. She studied English and Philosophy before accepting employment with the Crown Court where she worked for a number of years. Now a stay-at-home mum and full time author, Alex lives with her husband and two daughters in a little village near Cambridge and tries to avoid being mistaken for a tourist.
Alex is only intermittently present in the real world. She has led a Saxon shield wall into battle, toiled as a Georgian kitchen maid, and recently taken up an 800 year old form of English folk dance, but she still hasn’t learned to operate a mobile phone.