Pause for Thought – a five minute read – Week 36

John 2 v 1 – 10

Hold it – What a Picture

A couple of weeks ago, observing the 12 days rule, I put Jesus back in the wardrobe. He was in his manger, wrapped in his own plastic bag and tenderly placed in his own individual socket in the polystyrene block that will be his home till next year.

Above him are a donkey and two sheep, and at either side stand Mary and Joseph.

It is a nativity scene that my daughters bought for my wife Jean some years ago and as it is quite fragile I keep it in the wardrobe rather than in the roof space along with all the other Christmas annuals.

In order to reach the nativity box’s allocated space on the shelf, I had to move another dusty box which obviously had not been moved for some time.

Curiosity got the better of me, and I had to open it, after carefully clearing the dust from the top of the lid.

 It was the photograph album of Jean and my wedding in 1969 and I could not resist the temptation to turn each page and view this slice of my history.

The photographs are all in black and white, I am sure it cost extra to have colour, and consist of the usual regimented poses for weddings at that time.

I was amazed as to how little I have changed.

With the exception of losing most of my hair and what is left has changed colour, growing a beard, more than doubling my body weight, appearing to have lost two or three inches,     (50 to 75mm) in height, and now having a multitude of facial lines around my eyes and across my forehead which are not apparent on the photograph, I don’t seem to have changed at all.

Jean looks resplendent in a pencil style wedding dress and the bride’s maids look equally glamorous in their coordinated dresses.

All the men are wearing Top Hat and Tails and look very smart, but unfortunately there was a problem when allocating the suits from Moss Bros. and some obviously went to the wrong people. This resulted in my suit being too big so the trousers and jacket sleeves could have been turned up several times, whereas one of the ushers suit was too small with trousers just below the knee and jacket sleeves at the elbow.

Despite this insignificant hitch, I recall that the whole day went extremely well. The sun shone and the weather was warm for May. Dad was happy after previously paying for two daughters weddings; he was relieved to have an easy ride with this one.

However there was one slight issue. Responsibility for arranging the wedding cars traditionally lay with the groom and Jean had a quiet word in my ear prior to the big day, giving me instructions that the cars must not be black, as black cars were for funerals. As I always follow instructions, I specifically requested, ‘Wedding Cars’ from the car hire company, stressing that I did not want, ‘Funeral Cars’.

In my naivety, I was not aware that the difference between wedding and funeral cars came down to white seat covers and white ribbons. The cars were all black Rolls Royce.

I hoped that in the excitement of the day no one would notice.

I was wrong, but Jean and I were married for 43 years so she must have forgiven me.

There are many references to weddings in the Bible. The Old Testament refers to Israel being the Bride to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus used weddings and the wedding ceremony as illustrations to his teaching and preaching. In Mathew 25 we learn to be prepared using the wedding virgins with their lamps as an illustration.

The most recognisable use of a wedding in the scriptures is perhaps the wedding at Cana, (John 2 v 1 – 10) where Jesus turned the water into wine. This is considered to be the first of the miracles that Jesus performed and showed his compassion for the married couple.

It is interesting to note that the first miracle performed by Jesus was totally unnoticed by everyone except Mary Jesus’s mother. The guests never realised that the wine had expired, the host never realised, the servants never realised the water had changed but everyone noticed that the quality of the wine was now the best it could be.

This is illustrative of the Wine of the Kingdom, – saving the best till last.

In the box, in addition to the album, there are other memorabilia of the day including telegrams, (Do we still have telegrams at weddings?), copies of the table settings, invitations and a copy of a magazine called, ‘The Bradford Bystander’, (similar to Derbyshire Life), dated July 1969.

The magazine cost two shillings and six pence, and on the page for weddings there is a photograph of a couple called Mr. D. Turnton who married Miss G. Tintman .

Ah well you can’t have everything.

By the way, did you know that in 1969, you could buy a brand new Vauxhall Viva for £758.10s.6d or a BMW for £2,197.15s. 4d. it’s all in the Bradford Bystander.

Derek T.