Sharon and I are having a quiet Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. At noon our youngest son, Michael, and partner, Kaja, and a nephew, Steven, left for Calgary. Yesterday our oldest son, Jonathan, daughter-in-law, Lauren, and granddaughter, Hannah, also returned to Calgary. We will be going to Mass at 10:00 this evening.
With the temperature currently -26C and dropping and the house silent I have been thinking about past Christmas Eves. In particular, I have been thinking of some of those Christmas Eves of 30 years ago when we would drive to Oxbow to be with my sister, Ann Marie, and her family.
It was a long drive, almost 600 km. Often it was cold. We would usually be driving into the evening. After hours of travel the boys would be dozing as we neared Oxbow and it would be peaceful going down the highway with only a few other vehicles on the road with us.
My most vivid memory of that drive came the first time Sharon and I listened to The Shepherd by Frederick Forsyth on CBC radio being read by Al Maitland. We became caught up in the story.
In The Shepherd it is Christmas Eve of 1957 when a young RAF pilot flying his de Haviland Vampire jet fighter from Germany to England has his electrical systems fail. Lost in the fog with fuel and hope running out a World War II Mosquito fighter bomber appears out of the clouds and guides him.
As we listened to the story in our van, with drifting snow sifting across the highway creating a sense of isolation, we had the feeling of being in our own cockpit.
We did not speak for the 31 minutes it takes Maitland to tell the story.
It left us uplifted and reflective.
We have heard the story on several other Christmas Eve journeys and it never fails to move us. Maitland’s beautiful reading of the story has made it a Canadian classic. If you would like to listen CBC provides a link at:
Should you be traveling this Christmas Eve may your trip go well and you arrive safely.
A Merry Christmas to all my blogger friends and readers around the world!