Monday, December 22, 2008

Thoughts on the Season - Robert Scott

I'm living in a land of ice and show this year.

For twelve years we have lived in an area of Canada where, apart from the lights and signs, and a substantial increase in the weight of the newspaper, from all the flyers, you would not know that winter had arrived. At least, that is usually the case. Please read on.

When we moved to Victoria from Red Deer, in answer to a call to ministry, folks laughed at our snow shoes and snow scoop when they were unloaded from the truck.

That Christmas, the snow was so bad that traffic did not move for days. I had to make a hospital visit on Christmas Eve night. They had to come for me in a four-wheel-drive and we almost ended up in the ditch a number of times.

I have pictures of my daughter, wearing shorts, plowing out the driveway. We've learned, over many years of traversing this country, that you can never be too confident that things will never change. I like it like that.

When we moved to Saskatchewan, folks wanted to know where we had moved from. We would tell them and they would ask us what had gotten into us. We told them that we were a pastor and his wife and we had experienced the winters of Montreal, the Gaspé coast, Southwestern Ontario, Southeastern British Columbia and Red Deer, Alberta.

In each place, there have been wonderful memories created. Growing up in Montreal, our family lived within the same eight block area. Grandparents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and their families gathered together at this time of year to celebrate the birth of the Christ child. I can still remember the smell of turkey, vegetables, and Granny Scott's famous desserts cooking in my grandparents’ house when the gang of us gathered together. I still remember one cousin who insisted on making faces when the 'family portrait' was being taken, in the living room, after the meal. Those were special times.

Christmas on the Gaspé, in farm country, was a time of community gathering. We had some wonderful times together on my first appointment.

In every community we have lived in we have met folks who treated us like family and welcomed us into their homes. It was good. Besides, we had our own growing family to share it all with.

I had always given little thought to the celebrations that were held in the church. Maybe I should rephrase that. I put a lot of effort into preparing for the services that I conducted. I started working on things in September or October. What I mean is that it seemed like the normal thing to do. I was the pastor, after all.

I never realized how important that part of the season was to me until last December when we visited friends in South America and there was no special celebration in the community where we were staying. Family was half a world away.

This Christmas will be different because this year has been different. We moved from Vancouver Island to just south of Moose Jaw to be closer to family. (The daughter who plowed the driveway in her summer clothes, her husband and our two grandchildren.) We found a wonderful church fellowship in which to worship. I announced that I was a retired pastor and, within a week, was busier in our new church home than I had ever been. I'm giving a lot of thought to the Christmas celebration.

This year we will hear and share the Christmas story. This year, we will be surrounded by family. This year, Christmas Day will stand out from all the other days as one of celebration. Jesus will be honoured and the birth of the Saviour will be given due reverence.

I pray it will be the same for you and all those you love.

Robert Scott is a pastor and the the author of
ADVERTISING MURDER, LOST YOUTH and MURDER EXPRESS, titles in the Jack Elton Mystery series, Published by AVALON Books, New York

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