Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Story

I'm writing this ahead of the date since I'm going to spend Christmas with my daughter and her young family, and the chances of having even five minutes to myself over the weekend seems remote.

But one of the highlights for me will be, I know, listening to the beautiful words of the Anglican Service of Light with my wide-eyed grandchildren, and hearing again 'the tale of the loving purposes of God.'

And what a tale it is! It's so familiar to me that I've only now, blogging about writing, looked at the ways it fulfils the demands of narrative.

It has us hooked from the start with the dramatic visit of a messenger with news which turns the life of an ordinary girl upside down; we simply have to know what happens next. Will her fiancĂ©, dismayed at the news that the woman he loves is to bear a child that isn't his, denounce her to public shame, let her creep away quietly - or accept her story as truth? At the end of the anxious journey they are forced to take to an overcrowded city, with her heavily pregnant, will they find somewhere – anywhere – for the birth? The account of stars and angelic choirs and worshipping shepherds and oriental kings sweeps us along, and all the while, there is the villainous king in the background, plotting destruction. There is the apparent happy ending as the little family escape, but the story ends with the massacre of the other infants - a foreshadowing of the darkness that will gather as the story unfolds. It's classic, and it's brilliant.

Stories have been the way we have conveyed the profound truths about human life since the very beginning, the way we share our insights and our beliefs. Whatever story has been yours over these last few days, I hope it has been a joyous and fulfilling time, and that the year ahead is full of good things.

See you in 2012!


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Charlotte Hinger said...

Wonderful! this brought tears to my eyes. May this new year be filled with blessings.

Aline Templeton said...

Charlotte, thank you so much. What a lovely thing to say. Hope 2012 is filled with good things for you too.