Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Advent 2016

Balthasar, A Wise Man


            "But it'll make for a great road trip," Gaspar had told me.  "It'll be a fun way to see a new part of world," Melchior added.  And like an idiot I fell for it.  And what do I get for my folly?  Six weeks of camping out, freezing at night, and sweltering by day atop a flatulent camel while crossing the desert.  It wasn't until the second week I realized that they had only a vague notion of where we were even going.  I told them we should have turned left at Antioch, but did they listen to me?  No.  Gaspar was sure he'd plotted the right star until the thing disappeared on him.  Then, when we finally got close, those idiots stopped to ask directions from King Herod.  Herod?  I've never seen anybody look more crazed.  There have to have been some amorous cousins in that family.

            So Herod pulls his mystics together to point us in the right direction.  Things start looking up when Gaspar's star reappears and its light shines on a hovel.  I was told we'd be visiting a newly born king and figured Gaspar was just making stuff up to save face by that point.  When we got there we found a baby all right, but its parents weren't royalty by any means.  I was afraid we would startle the young couple, but they greeted us as if having three wise men from the East show up at a stable was an everyday thing for them.  The husband shrugged: "Compared to the band of angels that swung by earlier, this is nothing." 

            The wife perked up when Melchior mentioned gifts, but the guys really messed that one up too.  I don't know who they were expecting to visit, but the presents we brought really seemed kind of inappropriate.  "Myrrh...how nice," the wife said as her face fell. "Frankincense.  Hmm.  No diapers by any chance?  I suppose the gold will be very useful and we could sell the other stuff.  Thank you."  Awkward.

            It was at that point a random shepherd tripped over my saddle and fell face first in front of the baby, waking it up.  The boy laughed, and it was the most shimmering sound I've ever heard.  It sent chills up my spine, giving me a sense of peace I'd never felt before.  This child was indeed special.  I'm not sure why he would be born in such lowly circumstances to such humble people.  Maybe that just makes whatever the child is destined to be all the more amazing.

            Suddenly, my reverie was broken when out of nowhere a heavenly host appeared and burst into song.  The man rolled his eyes: "See what I mean?  This kind of thing has been going on all night."

            So was it worth the bother heading all the way out to Bethlehem and back?  Best road trip ever!  Well, except for the camel.  Next time I'm going on horseback.


-- Christopher Hendricks



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