Monday, November 22, 2010

And That, Charlie Brown, Is What Christmas Is All About

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, "Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage."

When King Herod heard this, he said, that was not a star but it was the lights of the mall stores for they stay open late for this season. Herod suggested the wise men buy a Garmin, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage."

When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, were the lights of the mall and then went therein to buy some gifts for the child. Entering the door, the wise kings heard angels singing on high, for the mall managers had suspended plastic angels overhead, with speakers embedded in their mouths, which blared forth "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" and "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer" seemingly until the End of Days.

A young drummer boy had also entered the mall, stopping at the Spencer’s Gifts to grab some gold, frankincense and myrrh. “Happy Holidays,” the drummer boy called to the shopkeeper.

“You mean ‘Merry Christmas’”, the shopkeeper replied, “for Christ is the reason for the season and the savior of my bottom line.”

“Well, there is Thanksgiving still to come and then Christmas and New Year and possibly you celebrate the Jewish holidays. I just wanted to wish you happiness for all of them.”

The shopkeeper said, “Lo, you have joined the war on Christmas. We must be Merry in these days and you may be happy when the New Year comes, but not before. Now get thee away from my shop.” And the drummer boy was forced to go seek the King with no gift to give.

But the wise men, having observed this, went to the shopkeeper crying, “Merry Christmas” and bought the gold, frankincense and myrrh the drummer boy had wanted. “We should also get something for Mary and Joseph,” suggested one of the Kings. So it was that they visited Hickory Farms and bought a selection of summer sausage and cheeses. “This is not kosher,” remarked king one. “I have a feeling things are changing,” said king two. “We should also get something for the dog,” offered king three. And so it was.

Then they went forth and followed the Garmin until they came to the place where the child was. It was an inn, festooned with twinkling lights and a flashing “No Vacancy” sign that lighted their way. Office Christmas parties had filled the inn, so that Mary and her child had to stay in the adjoining parking garage which cost 20 shekels per day.

There the wise men found the child nestled in a Graco baby carrier, surrounded by plaster reindeer, an inflatable snowman a giant Winnie the Pooh dressed as Santa Clause and a pine tree covered in shiny ornaments. They offered the baby king their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Mary took the gifts, saying, “Seriously? What the hell is myrrh?”

And having been warned in a dream they could not return the gifts at the mall, the wise men just smiled uncomfortably and had some shrimp from the buffet table and then quickly left for their own country by another path.

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