After a week of dead brain and frozen imagination, I've found the words to express how I felt when little Anna was born. You can see the result here.
But for readers who don't go for poetry, a word of explanation. I always find Advent incredibly special. The culmination of it all is of course the Midnight Mass of Christmas Eve, but as with Holy Week and Easter, the preparation and participation in the whole journey is all. This year feels very different. The arrival of Anna on the day before Advent Sunday, on the first day of the snow that brought the country to a halt, seemed to bring an end to my anticipation, my waiting and longing, before it had even begun. It's inevitable, I suppose, that annual repetition and my own aging will bring a familiarity that might tend to dull the keen edge of the Advent mystery, but this birth and its timing meant that once more a mystical birth was replaced in the front of my preoccupations by a very human birth.
Now I have two Advent grandchildren - see this poem about Alan - it strikes me that the season may never be quite the same again. But maybe this is how it should be - because if there's one thing I've learned in all these years it is that you can't stand still or you turn into a fossil. And we can't have that, can we?