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.
It was always hard to be away from home, but the holidays were especially trying. This year Reeder decided that he would try to make the season a little brighter. While it took him much of his pay packet, he bought himself an antique bed with a wooden headboard to replace his standard issue metal frame bunk. He then went through every magazine, and postcard he could lay his hands on. In the end he had amassed an amazing collection of “Holiday Sprit.”
Okay, he didn’t know who most of the people in the photographs were, but it was nice to see snow, and happy people enjoying old fashioned Christmas. His only regret was that he had to use plastic pine garland and borrowed lights for the effect. Maybe, next year he could get real evergreens, though they were rather hard to come by here on Antari Seven.