Standing at an airport, with a ticket in hand, Scott felt that he should start out of the terminal, but he was tired. The lag in jet travel was catching up with him, and although he had been released from under his doctor's care, and had now been supposedly free to travel in the last few weeks since, he still felt exhausted. He didn't remember much about the flight except that his traveling companion had an annoying habit of chewing gum loudly in what seemed to be his ear. He didn't feel like watching a movie, and after the token snack and drink, he anticipated a meal with longing. However, he forgot that unless he traveled on an European airways, he would no longer be served dinner. He was on his own. He staggered out of the airplane looking for food, a deli counter, anything. Finally, he saw a pastry shop that looked inviting, and literally consumed the delicious treat. Licking his fingers, he looked about him to study anyone in his immediate vicinity. The other travelers though, had mostly grabbed their carry-ons, rushed to the luggage return, and hightailed it out of the airport as anyone would at the ungodly hour of four in the morning. Scott had not thought through everything, but he knew the word " hotel " in several languages, and also how to ask for directions. He had an idea that he could find a taxi if he stepped out the front of the airport. Sure enough, soon he was explaining to the driver that he wanted a hotel, and looking forward to a good night's sleep.
After a few days, Scott felt drawn out of the city of Amsterdam into the canals and scenic countryside of the Netherlands. It was winter, and the windmills were silent, and the canals were frozen over. He had always heard of the famous iceskating, and brought a pair of iceskates in expectation. Scott, however, had forgotten how to skate. He stumbled over his own two feet, until a pair of local children took pity on him and began to hold his hands so he could glide over the ice for awhile with them. It had been eons ago since he read Hans Brinker, but Scott still felt the enjoyment of being with those children.
Soon, though, their mother could be heard calling them in the distance, and after thanking them, he watched them flying over the ice towards their home.
Scott, had nowhere to go meanwhile. He had forgotten that tonight was Christmas Eve. He wondered if there were services anywhere? He left the canal, after spotting a steeple in the background. As he watched, he did see churchgoers trooping toward a church. As he followed them, he slipped into a pew, and wondered how long it had been since he had actually darkened the door of a church? Was he a boy? Probably, for he hadn't really had much use for church when he grew older. His life took a different direction. He looked around, and then noticed his recent iceskating companions. He waved to them, and they waved back. Then he settled down to listen to the service. Of course, he didn't understand the language too well, although he had learned a few phrases in his travel book. It was the music that moved him. He realized that his eyes had closed and he was listening to the strains of "Silent Night" in German...
Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hoch heilige Paar.
Holder Knab' im lockigen Haar,
|: Schlafe in himmlischer Ruh!
2. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!
Gottes Sohn, o wie lacht
Lieb' aus deinem göttlichen Mund,
Da uns schlägt die rettende Stund'.
|: Jesus in deiner Geburt!
3. Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!
Die der Welt Heil gebracht,
Aus des Himmels goldenen Höhn,
Uns der Gnaden Fülle läßt sehn,
|: Jesum in Menschengestalt!
He remembered hearing when he was a boy that this song had been written on a guitar the night of Christmas eve when the church organ broke down. It had become a favorite Christmas song, and he still saw himself as a boy in a service clenching the candle in a darkened room with everyone else around him singing the words:
All is calm, all is bright... Why he recalled it so vividly he wasn't sure. And yet, wasn't there a significance to the light of Christmas? A light in a dark place?
He shook himself awake. Everyone around him was leaving...the service was over. He slipped out into the snow, and looked out, and as he watched, he noticed a particularly bright star in the distance. It seemed to beckon to him, for a moment, but he buttoned up his coat, and started back to his hotel.
The silence engulfed him once again...
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