It was nearly All Hallows, and Bella knew what that meant. She hated this time of the year; really hated it. It wasn’t that her job wasn’t hard enough the rest of the year, but the autumn always brought in a flood of new cases. Bella was a private investigator specialising in missing persons cases. For most PIs that means finding individuals that had skipped out on their rents, or deadbeat dad’s. Well, Bella tracked dead dads. There was no beat to it. She was usually hired by families or estates where the disappearance was, how shall we say, unusual. Most turned out to be standard foul play – love triangles and the like – but some, her bread and butter cases, involved vampires. She had already discovered three different “families” of the creatures in the three counties area, plus that one werewolf case, but Halloween just ramped things up. People though nothing about zombies, werewolves, and vamps on the streets. It made leads that much harder, plus they (the undead) usually did their “recruiting” among the unsuspecting party-goers of October.
Well, this year was going to be a doozy. She just didn’t know it yet.
The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has just passed after an absence of hundreds of years. Some call this the Christmas Star or the Bethlehem Star. In this year of fires, floods, racial and social unrest, and a world-wide pandemic it is perhaps a time to take stock and to reflect on the story not of this planetary alignment, but of the star of the Gospel account. It was a harbinger of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. It marked a transition in our relationship with the divine. The age of the Fall of Adam was coming to an end, and a promised saviour, the Messiah had come.
That did not mean that wars and rumours of wars, or fires, floods, and misfortune were coming to an end – 2020 surely shows us that. What it does say is there is a hope that is greater than those trials that is opened to us.
As I was reflecting on this I picked three YouTube videos to share which capture some of my thoughts. The first speaks of the coming of Emmanuel. The other two of the stresses and strains that Mary, the mother of Jesus may have faced in her obedience to God’s call. That obedience in the face of uncertainty and surely fears is a telling example for us all.
I wish all of you a happy Christmas, and pray that what ever the future holds for us, that we might cling to the Emmanuel – God with us.
Will and Eva sat comfortably before the fireplace in their snuggery enjoying a hot mug of cocoa. As Eva took a sip, she scanned the sea of packages adorned in red and gold wrapping paper, and her attention was drawn to the star atop the decorated evergreen.
“Will – Honey, do you ever think about the star on the tree?”
“What about it? Do you think we should have got a fairy instead?” he replied.
“No, and they’re not fairies, they are angels. It’s all about the story about shepherds following a star, and bringing a lamb to baby Jesus. Don’t you remember that from primary school?”
“Something like that, but wasn’t it a bunch of kings? I was a king in Year Four,” Will said reflectively.
“Yeah, that’s the story,” Eva said. “And I was sure it was shepherds because I remember, Danny Bowman had a tie-died tea-towel as a hat.”
“What were you? Mary I suppose?” Will queried.
“No, I was panda. You know, one of the animals in the barn. It was the onesie I had so mum didn’t have to buy a costume.”
“Anyway, that star and the shepherds. I bet they were cold out in that field when they were taking care of all those lambs.”
“I guess so,” Will replied a bit puzzled.
“Well I was thinking it’s cold tonight too and though I doubt there are any shepherd out there, I bet there are some homeless people. It was really cold last night too, and there was a lot of frost. The thought of it even makes me shiver. What if we take that extra pair of mittens that Aunt Martha sent you, and give them to one of the homeless people?”
“Kind of like King Winzaluss, giving alms, huh?” Will asked.
“Yeah, then we will really have the meaning of Xmas,” Eva said.
“Okay, but let’s wait till the morning when it’s warmer,” Will suggested.
“Good idea,” Eva said smiling as she took another sip and cuddled into Will.
We here at the Department of Health are thankful for the receipt of the documents you have forwarded to us indicating that you have been vaccinated with the Russian Covid “Sputnik” serum. While we appreciate the efforts you have made to insure that your planned “business” visit conform to our present quarantine guidelines, we must inform you that at present we hold that the Russian vaccination is still listed by us as “unproven.” We therefore request that you report to the UK approved vaccination clinic indicated with all urgency. We have enclosed an appointment document for you, and as you are over 85 years of age, this should not be construed as favouritism. Please be advised that if you fail to make this appointment your access to certain areas (please refer to Tier 4 map enclosed) may be severely restricted. Please also be advised that wearing a suitable face covering, hand sanitation, and social distancing should be practiced at all times while in the UK. As an added hygiene measure we strongly suggest that you avoid foodstuffs left in high traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens on uncovered plates. We thank you for your diligent attention in these matters, and the Department hope you have a happy holiday season.