One year, a Christmas afternoon visitor asked five-year-old Ruth, “Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?” After a moment’s hesitation, she answered, “No, but then it’s not my birthday!”—James Hewett
(photo from bing)
Face wet with tears, she hugged her knees towards her ripening belly, seeking to keep out the chill night air. Her heart ached. This was not how she’d imagined it. Why did no one believe her?
Her cousin had understood, rejoiced with her, but on returning home she’d faced utter rejection. Father wanted to turn her out of the house. Mother thought her mad, raving! They all thought it was him… that they’d…
She remembered his face, the pain inflicted by her seeming betrayal. At least he was prepared to send her away, wouldn’t enact the law as was his right. He’d considered it, she knew, but couldn’t face the thought. The law was explicit. She was not fit to live. He was not a vengeful man, for that she could be thankful, but he would never forgive her.
She recalled his anger at her stammered explanation.
“You expect me to believe that!” he’d yelled. “I’ll be the laughing stock of the village! Even if I send you away they’ll guess.” What would she do, where would she go. No one would take her in her present state.
Red tinged the sky, a narrow band on the horizon greeting the day. A shape appeared midst the shadows, coming closer. Then suddenly he was there, arms open to encircle her.
“It’s alright Mary. I believe you. We’ll be married.”
“But they’ll all think it was you…”
“I know,” Joseph replied. “But I know who the child really is. It doesn’t matter what they say, God has given me a great honour.” Shyly hesitant he placed his hand on the small mound of her belly. “I’ll take care of you both, I promise.” He whispered.
I came across an old poem
“I know an old house on a hill,
A mountain road, a grove, a rill,
And billowed hilltops stretching far
To sunset and evening star.
I take a path through glade and wood,
Deep drinking of its solitude,
And find a spot o’er reached and still
Where peace and poise the spirit fill.
The Master’s presence there is near,
The Master’s plan again is clear,
And far removed from work or strife
I re-appraise the worth of life.
Yet hill and outlook, glade and wood,
The time, the place, the solitude
Hold not the secret of the prayer
The secret place of anywhere.
It impressed on me the verse “Be still and know that I am God”. In this busy world folks often seem chasing a dream they can’t catch, or running from some intangible fear, how wonderful to be still, and in that stillness find the pervading strength and peace of God.
Sometimes in life, often when down or discouraged, it’s been my privilege, by some strange heavenly device, to catch a glimpse of the fruit of words or actions long forgotten. It has always astounded and encouraged me. Most have little idea just how far that kind word or deed may travel and what wonderful fruit it may bare in the life of others.
Like a spot of Heaven! Built by Goudi’s teacher on behalf of the local choir. Still hosts musical events from around the world. Breathtaking! Note the nature theme of roses. It was far lighter than my limited photography skills can portray (there were no dark areas, it glows with light!)
It’s human nature to place ourselves in the “star role” of our life screenplay. In a sense it’s true, but only for us. As life goes on we come to realise others may see life very differently and we may play only a minor role in their production, or be merely one of those passing “pieces of furniture” used in TV adds as “background crowd”.
Humbling as that may seem it actually gives a great freedom when you realise you are not being, assessed, critiqued, or appraised most of the time. Even if the new bright scarlet Christmas scarf/ reindeer outfit/ cracked karaoke performance etc. get you some fleeting attention the vast majority will have forgotten it by next day or sooner.
Understanding this enables to be more FREE!!!
Shimmering white closes behind us, ahead concealing mist.
Trees hide behind shimmering, soft veils of light, shadowed echoes.
Carols ring out through the silence, mulled wine enhancing vocal chords,
Silenced by Christmas luncheon.
Water skims slowly by ornamented by clusters of ducks, a swan here or there.
All upstaged by the jeweled visitor, surveying us from his perch, streaking of, dazzling in his vest of emerald and midnight blue – a kingfisher dressed for the season.
(Thoughts on a Christmas canal trip with my fellow sailing volunteers.)