Sometimes, somehow, despite the business of the Season, there can be a strange calm that settles upon us, even upon us last-minute, late-evening shoppers.
In the stillness and diminishing of the day, snow falls upon us (as does the rain upon the just and the unjust). And maybe, just maybe, there is pause and a kind of inner thrill, and memories that takes us back to younger, more care-free years.
We are buying too much, spending too much, we know. We’ve sponsored the World Vision or Compassion child but it’s not enough to assuage our guilt. The world is – the needs are, too great, too messed up. But we’ve done our little bit, our small part, in our small corner and somewhere else abroad.
And still, the haunting, the feeling that so much more could be done, by our own selves and others like us, to make a difference in our community, our neighbourhood, our world.
We’ve bought online but it wouldn’t be Christmas if we didn’t also venture out into the crowded streets and malls to be with people, to capture a little of the sense of being ‘with’ and not alone. We queue with others, fill our shopping bags and turn towards the parking lot.
And on the way, we pass a Nativity Scene, with Christ and crèche and the other characters not quite sheltered from the cold, the snow, the storm.
And neither are we.
And can the Christ of that crèche, the first-Advent Child in swaddling clothes, still be relevant, accessible, near to me – to us, this Christmas?