Advent Tales

First, thank you to the Michael for allowing me to post here. As we all know, Advent not only places us B.C., anticipating the coming of Christ with the faithful Jews, but also points us forward to the Second Coming of Christ. What may be lesser known is that during Advent some Christians also celebrate Christ’s coming to us today in Word and Sacrament. I had these three comings in mind as I wrote these Advent Tales. Please pardon them if they seem unpolished – it is one of the very few attempts I’ve made at fiction.

Matthias was troubled by the turmoil in Israel. One faction wanted to revolt against Roman occupation. Another faction, mostly made up of the politically powerful, wanted to maintain the status quo. Others just wanted to retreat and pray for a miracle. As a shepherd he didn’t normally get involved with the politics of the cities, but the disputes were beginning to reach even his people. That was the way of things. The trouble always began in the cities and spread to the countryside. He had always loved the shepherd’s life under the sun and away from the crowds. Now, however, rumors and rumblings disturbed his thoughts.

If it comes to a fight, what will I do? I’m just a shepherd, not a warrior – unless fighting wolves counts. My staff won’t do much against Roman swords. But I am an Israelite. I will do what I must for the land of my fathers. David was a shepherd, after all. How I wish we had David with us again.

Gloomily he watched the sheep and listened for any sounds of danger. His thoughts grew dark as the night. That’s when he heard the angels …

 


 

 

Craig felt guilty as he realized he had been inattentive for almost the entire service. But who could blame him? His appointment with the doctor Friday did not go well. The cancer was spreading like fire and nothing could stop the conflagration from consuming his body. The pain, constantly smoldering, would at times leap up, threatening to incinerate him.

He felt broken in body and mind. He worried about what his wife, Angela, would do after his death. His greatest fear was that she would be alone. Ron, their son, would care for her but he couldn’t always be there. He had a family of his own.

God, I’m facing death and separation from my family. I am afraid for myself and them. Please be with us.

Turning from these thoughts he focused his attention on the pastor, standing behind the bread and wine, who was saying: “… Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you …?

 


 

 

Angela knelt beside the grave remembering Craig, who died ten years ago today. Ron, his wife, and children stood silently behind her. She absentmindedly ran her finger down the side of the grave marker. Ten years. Yet she could remember every detail of those last moments. The smell of sanitation. The beeping of machines. The murmur of nearby nurses’ voices. The dizzying grief that consumed her when they led her from the room. Eventually she came out of the shadowy despair she entered that day. But its memory still haunted her like an unwelcome presence just out of sight.

I miss you, Craig. I know that someday we’ll meet again in bliss – gathered into the presence of God. We won’t have to fear sickness and death. Until then, though, I’ll continue to miss you. I love you.

With that she stood and faced Ron and his family. He stepped forward and hugged her. As she cried into his shoulder she heard a voice like a trumpet …

Jeremy Abel

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~ by Michael on December 1, 2005.

4 Responses to “Advent Tales”

  1. I enjoyed reading this, Jeremy. A lovely combination of past fulfilment, future hope and present sustenance for the time in between.

    Sometimes when at the communion table, I wonder if any more liberating words were ever spoken than “This is my Body… This is my blood… Take, eat and drink”

  2. Very nice.
    Hope is life.
    God reigns.
    I liked puddleglum’s comments as well.

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  4. […] Also posted at Go To Bethlehem and See […]

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