A Christmas Story
Susan started to walk deliberately to the Coffee Shop. It was now five to three in the afternoon. As she opened the door and gazed at the dimly lit hall, she could see Rohan at the far end; the corner with a view of the sea. That had been their favourite spot for the last two years.
As she neared the table, there was a kind of tense anticipation felt. It was unlike other times in the past; when over a cup of coffee and snacks they would talk and laugh and share their hopes and fears and little joys of life.
The past few weeks however was as if winter had set in. Their meetings had a cold formality about it. Both of them were strangers to such estrangement; yet Rohan perhaps more. It was not Susan’s change of career plans that upset him; but her life’s focus seemed to have completely changed of late.
“How are you Susan?” asked Rohan. She just smiled. She knew that Rohan was about to erupt.
“So what have you decided? You don’t want to have a life together with me anymore; is it? Hey Susan, think about all the plans we made. How happy we would be!”
Susan waited for a few minutes. The silence was broken by the low whispers at the tables nearby.
“Sir, coffee and snacks.” The waiter smiled as usual. How could he know better? “These two lovers were made for each other,” he had sworn to himself many times. Was it envy? No one knows.
Rohan was getting nervous and edgy. His fingers were fiddling with a few coins; quite unlike him.
The uneasy calm was broken by Susan’s voice. It was firm but at the same time sad at the parting.
“Rohan, there is no need to tell you again and again the sincerity of my love for you. Yet a few months ago, as you know that Meeting at the College chapel turned my world upside down.”
“Hey Susan, don’t tell me that old stuff again. I simply don’t understand your terminology. What do you mean that Jesus came into your heart? Why should it cause a break in our relationship? Can’t you keep it to yourself and get on with our life together?”
Susan looked out through the window. The sea was calm.
“Rohan, my love for you is real,” she said. “But greater today is my love for Jesus. This is not just some emotion; nor is it that I found some religion. It is not that at all.”
“Then why do you act the way you do and break up with me?” cried out Rohan. A few eyes turned in their direction.
“Susan, do you want to break my heart?” asked Rohan with violence!
Susan found it difficult to talk, yet she said, “Rohan, there is no greater understanding for me than the truth that Jesus bled and died on the cross for my sins. His love for me has changed my life radically. My loyalties have changed dramatically ever since last Christmas when I found true love and acceptance in Jesus. The things I enjoyed earlier, the music I loved, the parties that we went together to, the fiction that I read and was passionate about, the games of fortune telling we played; nothing gives me the kick it used to. Rohan I hope you remember the text of the sermon that changed my life that Christmas night:
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
Rohan was disturbed. He saw Susan differently now. This was not the girl he had loved. She had changed. And there was a boldness in her speech that unnerved him.
Yet he could not figure her out. He could see that her eyes were moist. She had genuinely loved him; but now a greater love had conquered her.
Rohan stood up. The meeting was over. He would try to find solace in finishing his article, “God Is Dead” that he was busy writing for the college magazine. He was angry alright; but a little unsure. For Susan had demonstrated that Christmas was not an event past and forgotten; but still happening time and again in the hearts of all who had room for the Christ-child to be born.
Even as he walked out, the words that Susan had quoted at an earlier meeting came back to Rohan with force like the waves of the sea crashing on the rocks again and again,
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”