STAR AND STRAW
A story for Christmas
Lost again.. The story of my life! I looked at the map. It seemed so straightforward: down the road and onto the public footpath. But where was the path? Between these buildings? Up this track? Through this gate?...A signpost at last – but not one I expected. The wrong kind of surroundings. An unlikely field. Over a stile. A confusing forest with tracks going in the wrong directions. Up instead of down. Curving to the right, winding to the left. The sound of the river I need to cross... fading away. Round in circles. Haven't I been here before? But suddenly the way that seemed the same way...was different, and opened out into a calm place.
What about them? Where are they? They've overshot again. They've rushed ahead and missed the entrance. They think they know where they're going; in a hurry, busy, important. They're going to have to retrace their steps. It's hard to admit. Resentful, they blame each other. But as they go back, suddenly they spot the way in, the way that takes them to a place of joy.
And us? We were simply too busy. We meant to be there at the beginning; but there was shopping and entertaining and visiting and cooking, a social whirl which made us flustered and anxious and cynical and exhausted. Suddenly we ground to a halt. And here we are, able to stand still in a place of purpose.
He knew that if he could just set out in the right direction, he might find the way. But there were so many obstacles; it called for such determination, such resilience as he fought his way through the undergrowth, tangled in brambles, tripped by fallen branches, sucked down in the mud, whipped on the head by twigs. He'd started in the wrong place; there must have been an easier route. Suddenly he came into a clearing, a place of clarity.
She hesitated to set out on this adventure. What would she need? Was she properly prepared? Would she be up to it? Could she keep going? Perhaps she didn't really need to worry about the whole journey: just take one step at a time...and another...then one more. She sensed that someone had passed that way before: the grass was pressed down. As she got her eye in, it became clearer, easier to follow. Now she realised that Someone was there just ahead of her. And suddenly she knew that she was in a place of hope.
Coming from the five points of a star, he and I and she and they and we...all – everyone – met at the centre, and witnessed a hushed celebration there in the straw. All gathered round the manger, everyone knew that This is where to start.
© Susan Ramsaran