Then Silent Night came up. Somehow, no-one was singing out of time any more. The melody was slow and simple, and the singing was suffused with a kind of reverent hush. For the second verse, the carol-sheet instructed us all to raise the lanterns we had brought. And so we did. Everything from candles in jam-jars to battery-powered camping lamps appeared above warmly-hatted heads. And we sang:
"Silent night, holy night,
Son of God, love's pure light:
Radiance beams from thy holy face,
With the dawn of redeeming grace..."
Afterwards, we lowered our lanterns back down into the crowd. "See?" I said to Fleur. "The sun will come again."
"Change the spelling a bit," she said, "and the Christians would agree with you."
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.