Some things don't change. The Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols doesn't change, except this year, the Dean and members of the Chapter were handing out mince pies and hot spiced apple juice to the people queuing to get in last Sunday. (This service is so popular, they repeat it on Christmas Eve.) The shopping frenzy doesn't change - food halls crammed before Christmas, shops opening their doors at 6am for the Boxing Day sales. What changes then? The weather, the moon, the tides. They change, and the news, of course. The news always changes, irrespective of our attempts to stay it with a few days in front of the TV or at the sales. But I love Christmas because it is, in spite of everything, a respite, one of those Magic Mountain moments in which time contracts and shuts out the never ending march towards the future - Janus, the two-headed Roman god who can look both forwards and backwards, but who gave us January.
And I look backwards to those friends of mine who have been having cancer treatment this year, and forwards to those who will have treatment next year for cancer and cardiovascular disease and who, like me, will still be here seven years later, not just because of medical intervention but because they still have things to do which carry them forward and infuse them with hope and will and a sense of the ineffable.
|Full Moon over Truro on Christmas night. (Morgellyn)|