[Rector]

Christmas II

 

It was the year when nothing seemed to fit. My jeans, especially, had reached the point of excruciation. But, then it was an age of tight jeans, luminous socks and desert boots. The ladies in charge of the church social had banned Rock and Roll. Mind you the church band couldn't really have handled the pace. We were all a bit put out and so the following youth club meeting seemed to exude the smell of rebellion. It was one of those fun meetings when a missionary would show his slides of the poor natives. The best part was that they had very little cloths on and that seemed to calm the group no end.

Every now and then she would turn around, look at me and blush. I had arrived, so it seemed, in the heart of Carol.

Just before the Christmas holidays, my mate Jeff and I had embarked on a quest. Either one of us would win the heart of this beautiful girl. Actually, I thought Jeff would win as I always felt a bit of a weed compared to him. Gladly it was not a matter of best man wins.

Those Christmas holidays I rode my bike about a thousand Kilometers. Around and around the park, hoping to catch a glimpse of her. Up and down her street, hoping she was there. Each day, sooner or later, our paths would cross, and we would talk and laugh and try desperately to feel at ease. If only the embarrassment of it all would go away. I think I touched her hand once, but then it was a time of youthful confusion.

Christmas is a bit like birthdays; it reminds us of the passing of time. Of feelings we once had, but have no more. Of faces and shapes we once knew so well, but now are faded images. Of places, sounds and smells that are lost to us forever. The feelings pass, the shapes change, and all grows dim.

The office party covers some of the loneliness. In the noise, the fun and games, somehow the world seems bearable. But, when we wake the memory is still there. All that we could have done and said, but never did, and once lost is never regained.

Is nothing permanent? Is there nothing to rely on? Is it really possible for a child, born into poverty, laid in an animal's feeding trough, to give some shape and permanence to our fleeting life? If life is but images and memories, what purpose can it have? It becomes nothing more than the random rush of forms from childhood to senility. Memories past and unfulfilled.

Yet in all that changes there is changelessness. As the Bible puts it, "I the Lord do not change." In the midst of change a child is born and "she wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger."