It is the season of solstice, of pagan rituals of death and re-birth; and it is the Christian season of Advent, of the celebration of the deliverance of a magical, divine child in to our care. I have moved from Anne Lamott to Anne Rice. I am now reading Rice’s novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt. It is a creative imagining of the seven year old Jesus’ life during his return to Nazareth. It is told from his point of view, as he wonders about who he is and begins to understand the world he is living in. It is compelling to me because Griffen is about to be seven, and I hear him asking the same kinds of questions young Jesus asks in the book: why do they fight? Why is there death? And versions of: who am I becoming? What is God? The book is helping me develop a relationship to Jesus I can celebrate, especially since it is the “Annes”, two creative writers, who have helped me fashion a Jesus in my imagination, who is a friend and contemporary, someone who laughs and cries. The Annes have helped me see that this titanic character has been stolen from me by fundamentalists, and my misgivings about him have been misgivings about them. The Jesus I believe in is all spirit now, and as such he has no gender, no race, no age. But if it helps me, he doesn’t mind if I imagine him as a young man sitting in my meeting for worship with me, arms stretched out across the back of the bench, staring thoughtfully up at the ceiling.

I imagine him sitting in the house at People’s Light watching the Panto with me and my children, laughing and gently stroking Ella’s hair, before lifting her on to his lap. She sticks her finger in her mouth and looks at me, a little nervous about being so close to this stranger. But his warmth and laughter sooth her, and I smile at her reassuringly, and she leans back, resting against his chest. We glance at each other in the darkened theatre, He and I, and wonder together about this season of darkness, sleep, and mysterious portent. Then we turn our attention to the light.