OLD CHILD, LOST CHILD.  from LIKE BRIGHT STARS  Advent 2001.  One of MARFAM’s Christmas stories from years gone by.   

When does a child stop being  child?  You might say at 18 or 21 but parents always see their children as their children even when they are grown-up.   And there comes a time like a second childhood when older family members need to be cared for like children themselves.

Mrs Jameson and Mrs Brand pulled their chairs closer to the window.  After supper they would sit for a while and look outside at the lights before going off to their little rooms and to bed.  Sometimes they would turn out the light and sit in the dark and look at the stars. It is funny but so often when you look at the stars it makes you think back to the past, and forward into the future, you think bigger, more universal.

They sometimes complained that in their old-age home they were treated like children and told what they could and what they couldn’t do.  But it is true when you get old, you do sometimes become childlike again.   You certainly remember things from way back in your childhood, things that made you happy and also things that made you sad.

“Do you remember,…..” Mrs Jameson would say, when the family came to visit.   “There was a time, no not 1000 years ago, maybe 50 years ago when your grandparents were young, when space travel for us, human beings seemed very exciting.  The 1st satellite was launched into space, was it in 1956?   We would sit and stand or lie on our backs watching out for this tiny dot moving amongst the millions of stars that seemed to be standing still.   Then there was the first manned space flight, the first space ship to land on the moon, mankind’s first moon landing when Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar landing craft and said,  “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind.”

Those were the days before TV in SA and when we didn’t have STAR WARS, Ninja Turtles, TeleTubbies and Pokemon creatures. But I think we did have Star Trek.  And now there is a spaceship  going to Mars and soon we will be able to go out into space ourselves.   And think of stars, we had film stars, pop star and sports stars,   Who were the bright stars over the years……. ?  And so she rambled on while her grandson let out a little sigh.  “But look,“ he shouted.  A shooting star shot across the horizon so fast that if you blinked you missed it and it was gone.


“That reminds me,,,,” Mrs Brand began her story.    “I remember the day when Jon-Michael got lost.   He was only a little boy and I had taken him shopping.   For some reason he couldn’t see me and thought I was the one that had gone and left him behind.  Silly child1 So he decided to walk home.  Can you imagine a 5 year old, walking 5 kilometres home.   I was beside myself with worry and half the shopping centre was out looking.   Eventually I thought he might have started walking so drove slowly along the road home, only to find this child sitting on the gate-post at home.    I can’t remember whether I cried with relief or anger, but certainly thanked God.”

Share Together:   Too many children get lost nowadays.  Sometimes they are kidnapped, sometimes they are careless, sometimes their parents are.   Every Christmas on the beach dozens of little children are lost and found, if they are lucky.   Every year there are also children who are lost and never found, or lost and never see their parents again.   And then there are those who deliberately lose themselves, who run away, and those babies and children who are abandoned because their mothers can’t look after them.  Just think what that could feel like, for the mothers and for the children.   Share some family memories of being lost and found.   Share especially the joy of being found.  Thank God for family security and pray for all families that are suffering a loss at this time.    FAMILY WEEKLY   TR   18 December 2018

Adapted from a favourite Christmas carol.

Old child, lost child, chosen child of God above.

Be a light to all who seek for peace and hope and love.

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