Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A Magi-cal Christmas Story

The Magi were exhausted. They'd followed the star of Bethlehem for hundreds of miles across all types of terrain, but at last they'd arrived.

“We walked all this way just to get to Bethlehem?” said one. “Why didn’t you just tell me this was where we were going. I know a guy coulda gotten us here by camel real cheap. We woulda been here days ago.”

The two other Magi ignored him, just as they had for most of the journey.

They approached the doorway of the stable and pulled out the gifts they'd skillfully concealed under their robes for fear of being robbed by bandits during their journey.

"Hey, Balthasar, gimme some of that myrrh, will ya? I'm all chafed." said Gaspar.

Though Balthasar was a foot shorter than Gaspar, he still managed the neat trick of looking down his nose at him as he responded.

"The gift is for the child, not for you."

"Come on. It’s not like he's going to notice. He’s an infant for Moses’ sake! Just gimme a little bit."

He reached for the ointment, but Balthasar turned away. A brief tug of war ensued and before long, the two men were rolling in the dirt outside of the stable as they wrestled for control of the jar. Gaspar had nearly pried it from Balthasar’s grasp when he became the recipient of a well placed kick from Melchior. Ointment forgotten, Gaspar clutched his groin and writhing and howling in pain.

Hearing the commotion outside, Joseph strode to stable door. The lack of sleep common among parents of a newborn combined with the persistent rumors that Jesus was not his child had combined to leave him irritable and short tempered.

"What's going on out here?" He growled at the two well-dressed men standing outside the door.

“We followed the star here,” said Balthasar “so that we might present gifts to the savior.”

"What about him?" asked Joseph gesturing at the man laying on the ground and whimpering.

"That's my wife's idiot cousin. He's with us." said Melchior apologetically. He shot a look of disgust at Gaspar - who by this time had risen to his knees and was quietly sobbing and vomiting in the sand.

Joseph nodded in sympathy. "I understand. I have one of those too" he said. "Come in."

Truth be told, Joseph was grateful for the interruption. Earlier that day a little boy had come to visit. He was too poor to buy a gift, so he offered play his drum instead. For some reason, Jesus smiled (Joseph suspected it was just gas), and so the child took that as a sign to keep playing. It was cute at first, but several hours of listening to “pa rum pa pum pum” over and over had left Joseph ith a raging headache.

“Hey kid, take five." he said as he lead the men to the manger in his son lay. Behind him, the two Magi bowed their heads in reverence as they approached. Upon reaching the manger, they made the proper cooing sounds and asked the rhetorical “Isn’t he adorable?” questions that people had come to expect of men as wise as they.

Having dispensed with the rituals, they presented their gifts to Mary and Joseph. Balthasar had brought frankincense and Melchior myrrh. Joseph lit the frankincense in the hope that it might mask the smell of animal excrement that permeated the stable, while Mary placed the myrrh in the nearby pile with the gifts they'd received during the recent baby shower. She thanked them for the gifts, even though she much preffered the diaper genie, the camel seat, and the stroller with the all-terrain wheels that she'd received at the baby shower.

There seemed nothing left to say, so they filled the awkward silence by turning their attention back to Jesus. Upon hearing a small cough at the doorway, four of them turned their heads to locate the source of the sound and saw a nearly recoverd Gaspar hobbling towards them holding a gift in his outstreched hands.

Balthasar’s eyes flashed with anger.

“What is this?” he snapped “Where is the gold?”

“Relax.” said Gaspar. “I was going to give it to him, but then I got to thinking. I mean, what’s a kid gonna do with it? Besides, it’s Christmas and kids expect to get something special, so I used the gold to buy this.”

With that, he kneeled before the baby Jesus and presented him with an Xbox 360.

Upon seeing the console, the baby laughed with unbridled joy and from that moment on 'Uncle Gaspar' was well and truly blessed as Jesus’ most beloved.