Posted by: Jenny | Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Christmas past, present and future

Today on a flight I was listening to one of Johnny Coppin’s albums, ‘A Country Christmas’. As often happens when I am flying or listening to music, I became contemplative and felt my emotions heightened.  I have been contemplating Christmas, what it means to me now and what it has meant to me in the past, and how I will cope with Christmas this year and in years to come.

In two days’ time I will go to Johnny Coppin’s Christmas show in Cheltenham Town Hall. He is a deservedly popular local artist, and usually manages to attract a full house for this annual show.  Last year, I managed to avoid all Christmas celebrations, apart from an office party with colleagues from the small international team of which I was a transient member.  The small talk at such parties is of the “what are you doing for Christmas” variety.  How to tell these people, whom I hardly knew, that I would be remembering my son who died a year ago on Christmas Eve? A nd yet tell them I did – after all, these were my team-mates, decent people who would understand.  But it was uncomfortable, and I avoided other parties in order not to have to have that painful conversation again.  And in order not to dampen others’ spirits.

Now I think about Johnny Coppin.  Some six or seven years ago, he lost his wife Gillian to cancer, when their little boy was only a toddler.  But “the show must go on”, and Johnny has continued to tour and perform, dedicating his work to Gillian and making collections for cancer charities.

And I recall reading recently a speech given by former member of the Universal House of Justice (the Bahá’í international administrative body) Mr Ali Nakhjavani in 1983.  He had cause to mention his recently-departed brother in the course of his presentation, and said “I give thanks to God for this opportunity to mention my beloved brother”.  And it is true that I also feel thankful for every opportunity that I have to mention Ben, or to perform some service in his memory.

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