‘Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of friends by a good fire?’ C.S. Lewis
I was listening to BBC Radio 6 music while working this morning; Lauren Laverne dedicated her show to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’ (pronuonced ‘Heu-gah’). We don’t have a direct equivilent in English but I came across this beautiful explanation:
‘The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.
We all Hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee, together at work. In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, Hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale. Hygge is a kind of enchantment– a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about being not having.’ (http://hygge.co/definition-of-hygge/)
We are in the high season of Hygge, as we relish in it and be grateful for the simplest and greatest joys, my challenge to myself if who else I can make space for by the fire of my Hygge season; my advent season, Who are those experiencing the coldness of loneliness, poverty, sickness near me who I can create Hygge for? That I can extend warmth and welcome to? For whom is this season marked by isolation rather than the warmth of belonging? How can I cultivate Hygge in my advent? My prayer for this season is that I can stoke a fire warm enough for many,
In keeping with the notion of Hygge here is a little recipe for a Fairtrade Spiced Apple Punch (taken from the Fairtrade Cook Book) to warm your hands and your bellies:
800 ml Fairtrade apple juice
2.5 ml Fairtrade ground cinnamon or
4 pieces of Fairtade cinnamon stick
4 slices Fairtrade lemon
16 Fairtrade whole cloves
30 ml organic Fairtrade runny honey
Gently heat the apple juice in a saucepan.
Add the honey as the juice warms through, and stir to dissolve.
Add the cinnamon powder as well if this method is used, stir well.
Once the mixture is hot (it should not be allowed to boil), pour the drinks into large wine glasses.
If you are using cinnamon stick put one piece in each of the glasses.
Take each slice of lemon and impale four cloves.
Add one cloven lemon slice to each drink.
Sip this beautiful aromatic drink, and enjoy curling your fingers around the hot glass.