Posts Tagged ‘Christmas Eve’

Christmas Tale : The music coming from the house

December 24, 2015
Merry Christmas -- Ken Crane

Merry Christmas — Ken Crane

On Christmas Eve, the king invited the prime minister to join him for their usual walk together. He enjoyed seeing the decorations in the streets, but since he didn’t want his subjects to spend too much money on these just to please him, the two men always disguised themselves as traders from some far distant land.

They walked through the centre of the city, admiring the lights, the Christmas trees, the candles burning on the steps of the houses, the stalls selling gifts, and the men, women and children hurrying off to celebrate a family Christmas around a table laden with food.

On the way back, they passed through a poorer area, where the atmosphere was quite different. There were no lights, no candles, no delicious smells of food about to be served. There was hardly a soul in the street, and, as he did every year, the king remarked to the prime minister that he really must pay more attention to the poor in his kingdom. The prime minister nodded, knowing that the matter would soon be forgotten again, buried beneath the day-to-day bureaucracy of budgets to be approved and discussions with foreign dignitaries.

Suddenly, they heard music coming from one of the poorest houses. The hut was so ramshackle and the rotten wooden timbers so full of cracks, that they were able to peer through and see what was happening inside.

And what they saw was utterly absurd: an old man in a wheelchair apparently crying, a shaven-headed young woman dancing, and a young man with sad eyes shaking a tambourine and singing a folk song.

‘I’m going to find out what they’re up to,’ said the king.

He knocked. The music stopped, and the young man came to the door.

‘We are merchants in search of a place to sleep. We heard the music, saw that you were still awake, and wondered if we could spend the night here.’

‘You can find shelter in a hotel in the city. We, alas, cannot help you. Despite the music, this house is full of sadness and suffering.’

‘And may we know why?’

‘It’s all because of me.’ It was the old man in the wheelchair who spoke.

‘I’ve spent my life teaching my son calligraphy, so that he could one day get a job as a palace scribe. But the years have passed and no post has ever come up. And then, last night, I had a stupid dream: an angel appeared to me and asked me to buy a silver goblet because, the angel said, the king would be coming to visit me. He would drink from the goblet and give my son a job.

‘The angel was so persuasive that I decided to do as he said. Since we have no money, my daughter-in-law went to the market this morning to sell her hair so that we could buy that goblet over there. The two of them are doing their best to get me in the Christmas spirit by singing and dancing, but it’s no use.’

The king saw the silver goblet, asked to be given a little water to quench his thirst and, before leaving, said to the family:

‘Do you know, we were talking to the prime minister only today, and he told us that an opening for a palace scribe would be announced next week.’

The old man nodded, not really believing what he was hearing, and bade farewell to the strangers. The following morning, however, a royal proclamation was read out in all the city streets; a new scribe was needed at court. On the appointed day, the audience room at the palace was packed with people eager to compete for that much-sought-after post.

The prime minister entered and asked everyone there to prepare their paper and pens:

‘Here is the subject of the composition: Why is an old man weeping, a shaven-headed woman dancing, and a sad young man singing?’

A murmur of disbelief went round the room. No one knew how to tell such a story, apart, that is, from the shabbily dressed young man sitting in one corner, who smiled broadly and began to write.

(Based on an Indian story)

— Paulo Coelho

My wife and the burnt light

December 31, 2011

On Christmas Eve, my wife and I were reflecting on the year that was nearly ending whilst dining at a restaurant.

I started to complain about something that didn’t happen the way I wanted it to.

My wife focused her attention in a Christmas tree that embellished the place.

I thought that she wasn’t interested in the conversation, so I changed the subject:

“This tree has a beautiful illumination”, I said.

“Yes, but if you look carefully you can see one burnt light among dozens.

” It seems to me that instead of thinking this year as dozens of enlightened blessings, you chose to look at the one light that did not glow.”

Posted by Paulo Coelho on his blog.

2011 was the year of protest.

All the little lights twinkling are the Occupy camps across the world.

All the little lights twinkling are the brave people who take to the streets in Syria and Egypt, even though they do so at risk to their lives.

The one dead light is the corrupt who must be removed from power.

Protest the dominant theme of 2011

Synchronicity: I was reading Faith Under Fire by Canon Andrew White:

In Arabic: Yom asal, yom basal which means one day honey, one day onions. Canon Andrew White would designate days as honey or onion, as often a good day would be followed by a bad day, then one day decided to change his perspective, every day would be a good day. Not just a philosophical shift, but a spiritual shift.

Surrounded by death and destruction, Canon Andrew White and the people he loves and serves still see the joy of life.

Psalms 30:5

For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

It is often those who face the greatest adversity who share the greatest love. Canon Andrew White in Iraq is a good example of this.

St Paul pleaded with God to remove the thorn from his side, God responded …

1 Corinthians 12:19

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Love drives out fear.

1 John 4:18

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

2 Timothy 1:17

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Canon Andrew White

As I have said many times, the congregation of St George’s are the most joyful people I have ever served. … There cannot be any such word as can’t here in Iraq. We have to persevere, and we do. And in everything we see the Glory of God.

Angels appear in St George’s and as seen by Ezekiel wheels within wheels.

Wheels within wheels