Once again the darkest time of year is upon us, having crawled its way towards us day by day, inch by torturous inch.
We have prepared. We have feasted and made merry in time stop plenty, but always set aside stock for the lean days. The cold days. The dark days.
The daylight hours are shrivelled and shrunken, mere husks of their former selves. But the nights, oh the nights. The nights are rich and thick and black. This season belongs to the night.
And so does He.
You will not see him in the daylight. You will scarcely see him in the night. You will know of his presence by the telltale signs he has left. Prints in the snow. Soot trodden into a carpet. The lingering sound of bells.
His image is everywhere, gazing down at us from posters and televisions and supermarket shelves. Always he is watching. He knows when you are sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows. He knows.
So it is the night before Christmas. And all through the house. Not a creature is stirring. Not even a mouse. For to stir would be to invite attention, and that would not do. Not on this night of all nights.
Gather close your friends and relatives. Huddle together before the fire. Share your meagre offerings and your humble meals. And go to sleep early tonight, lest you catch a glimpse of that ancient unknowable presence that walks while the world sleeps.
Merry Christmas to all.
And to all a good night.