As in the past 47 years that Christopher had walked the earth in his present form, the Yuletide season, now known as Christmas to the overwhelming majority, had once again come around. Although it was not very noticeable at first, the days gradually got longer & the nights got shorter as the Creation rested from Her labors & prepared for the return of the Sun which would be instrumental in the Rebirth of Life, both plant & animal, visible & invisible, tangible & intangible. This was the time that roots were established & the Earth enjoyed the bounty of the Harvest. In this season, as with so many other Christ-bearers, Christopher had learned that the reason for the season was to celebrate the birth of Jesus, the Jewish Messiah. Although Jesus was historically, according to many scholars, most probably born around harvest time, in August or September more likely, than in December; Christopher found that the powers that be had decided, oh so many years ago, to combine the celebration of Jesus' birth with a greater & much more ancient one the Pagans already observed; Yule, or the Coming of the Light, the Winter Solstice!
From his youth, Christopher had known that his very name signified 'Christ-bearer': as he progressed in his Journey, with all its pitfalls, stumbles & tumbles, as well as its Joys; Christopher began to truly understand the gravity of bearing that exalted name! As One who bore the Christ, much as he'd been taught that we ALL bear the Image of the Creator God, Christopher came to realize that He bore the Christ in Himself ( He remembered that old, old story about how a certain man bore the young Jesus across a river on his back ), that, just like the 'Image of God' He'd been taught we ALL bear, 'the Christ' was an Anointing, a Chrism within Him, indeed within us ALL, that we manifest according to our choices. From His earliest memory, Christopher had chosen to manifest this Image, not as in merely reflecting the Glory, bur rather allowing IT to Shine through Him; BEing that very Image!
Christopher was, in the truest sense of the word, a 'Christian' & so, even though He had advanced beyond what most accepted as 'Orthodox' ( dangerously so, according to some ) He would always consider Himself, if ANY identification was necessary, a 'Christian'! According to some others ( ? ) who also considered themselves 'Christians', Christopher couldn't BE a Christian because His stated beliefs didn't line up with Orthodoxy. Furthermore, He didn't attach the same importance to gathering in a certain building, at a certain time, on a certain day of the week, as did most of His peers. For this, as well as other reasons, Christopher, though He was loved by most, bore the stigma of being suspect, of not being quite right in the head: he heard 'I'll pray for you' quite a lot!
Christopher's Journey had not been an easy one! From the beginning, He had felt the burden of His very Name; as the Bearer of such an Exalted Title, Christopher knew that He was obliged, more or less, to act in a certain manner. He didn't always make all the right moves or always choose to manifest His destiny in the way everyone seemed to think He should, but He always strove to be true to Himself & the Name He bore ( so UN-gracefully at times )! As He continued on the Path He had chosen, Christopher encountered many hurdles, some greater, some lesser, but knowing, as He did, that they all served a Greater Purpose, that Greater Purpose being His growth & the manifestation of the Christ, He counted it ALL good & learned to accept them as such.
The Time for Introspection has come again ( not that it ever stops ); a Time to observe a period of Rest, wherein Nature carries out Her silent activity underground, so to speak. The Season of Yule, or Christmastide, as it came to be known, is a time in which we all, like Nature Herself, carry our activities within, preparing for a Time of Rebirth. continuing the cycle of Birth, Death & Resurrection.
Christopher was not perfect, at least, not according to the 'accepted' notion of 'perfect'! One should ask though, 'what IS 'perfect'?' There could be a perfect situation, where everything goes as planned; there could be perfect weather, or there could be two people who, with all their imperfections & idiosyncrasies, are perfect for each other! Though, according to Scripture, Jesus was without sin ( in that sense, 'perfect' ), He was the perfect Messiah for Israel; although not necessarily what they wanted, He was exactly what they NEEDED!
We are not mere stewards! A steward manages that which is not his or her own, but we have been given a Gift; a Gift which this Season ( especially ) serves to remind us of. In the greatest sense, we are ALL 'Christophers'; ALL have received this Gift, though not all have chosen to acknowledge it & to manifest the Christ Within. It IS our choice, as Christopher came to know, not whether we receive this Gift, but on what we DO with it. Actually, we should understand, it's not so much a matter of reception, for we are ALL born with IT ( the 'Image of God' ). How, or if, we manifest that Gift, determines the concept of the Christ to the world around us sees, so make the best of it: Christopher IS!
Charles Haddon Shank