Wednesday, December 23

My Second Favorite Christmas Story 12/23/15

      If you missed the previous season-related tale, my third favorite, you can find it here.  
      I wrote the following in 2011.   You may not be familiar with it. 
      Wishing you a peaceful and happy Christmas,                         ThInnkeeper

     Gather round the fireplace warming this inn.  You may be frazzled by the call of Madison Avenue.  QVC and the Home Shopping Network assault you with gifts options for loved ones.  Commercials from
Radio Shack, Best Buy, Macy's and Kohl's department stores bombard your sanity.  The craziness endured during the whirly burly of frenzied shopping may overwhelm. 

       Please slow down. 

      The innkeeper wants to share a story offering perspective. Of the noncomercial kind.  My favorite Christmas Story is, well, the Christmas Story What follows is second.  I heard it first when fourteen.  This is my telling of it.

        A pleasant, reasonable man named James didn't care for Christmas.  He was not a Grinch nor a Scrooge.  He just didn't want to have any-thing to do with Christ.  A hard heart, he didn't have.  He was kind, well-liked by neighbors and co-workers.   

        The concept that an "all-mighty" God sent His Son to earth, as a man, he didn't buy.  If God existed, James reasoned, the Almighty could open up the heavens.  He could speak directly to mankind, as a star, if He liked.  The whole “Jesus thing” was ridiculous.  A well-meant fantasy.  For this educated man of the 21st century, it was nonsense. 

       Christmas Eve approached.  James followed his holiday routine.  He partied at a friend’s house, enjoying good company along with holiday cheer of the liquid kind.  At 11:15 p.m., he arrived at home.  Before walking in he brushed off snow from his coat.  It was gently blanketing his lawn, home and neighborhood.

      Once inside, James prepared a fire in the living room fireplace.  He looked forward to reading.  The blaze would take the chill off his home, before he finished reading his book and called it a night.  Thirty minutes into his reading, he heard a loud thump!  His curiosity peaked when he heard it again: thump!  

      He couldn't understand the source for this irregular percussive noise.  He heard it a third time: thump!  Something was hitting his ten foot wide living room window that faced the front yard.  "Teenagers are throwing snowballs at my home!" he thought.  He rushed outside.  

      No kids in sight.  He encircled his house, looking for the cause of the peculiar noise.  The snow descended heavily.  The strong wind bit into his face.  He looked forward to the fire awaiting him, when he re-entered his suburban home.  

       Returning to the front yard, James saw them.  A flock of birds.  Just then, James witnessed two birds dart away from the group.  They slammed into the plate-glass living room window.  Thump, thump!  These feathered creatures hit the window violently.  Their bodies fell dead to the ground.

      The birds were confused, frightened by the heavy, swirling snow.  The feathered creatures gathered on the lawn in despair.  They could see inside James house.  Shelter from the bitter cold of this Christmas Eve evening they sought.  No success.

      Thump! Thump! Thump!  Three more birds dove into the glass, falling lifeless to the white-covered ground.  A good heart, James had.  It troubled him, seeing the plight of the birds.  He ran into his home.  Inside, all of the lights in his living room, were turned off.  

      He thought, "If they couldn't see inside, they might stop their attempts."  The birds no longer saw inside his house.  The darkened window held the appearance of a shelter.  A cave, perhaps. The birds continued flying headlong into the glass.  Small, feathered bodies piled up below.

       The man ran to the garage 30 feet away.  He threw open its wide door to provide the birds shelter.  They continued slamming against the window, desperate for a haven from the sub-freezing weather.  James rushed inside the garage, turning on the lights.  

       Now, he thought, they’ll see the refuge needed is here.  The birds’ focus on the window prevented that possibility.  Thump! Thump!  More birds crashed into the window.  James called out to the birds. “Hey! Over here! Over here!”  

       The birds could not be beckoned to the garage.

       Finally, he rushed into
 the flock.  He yelled. He waved his arms.  If the birds had been confused and frightened, they were now startled.  A wild man ran among them, scaring them.   

       James realized the futility of his efforts.  The birds could not be herded. They were blind to the sanctuary offered.  The sickening sound of Thump! Thump! Thump! echoed their efforts at entering his home. 

       Frustrated, he stood in the darkness of the yard.  Snow poured upon him as the birds died one by one, diving into the window.  He thought, “If only I could be a bird for a few minutes. . . I could talk to them in their language – they wouldn't be afraid of me; they would understand what they needed to do to save themselves.”

       As he thought, he heard the church bells from the town pealing.  It was midnight.  The rings ushered in Christmas morning, the day celebrating Christ's birth.  The snow continued falling. 

       It  drifted upon the fences.  It alighted upon the rooftops of the homes in the community. It lay upon the nearby hills, frosting the landscape.  As it did, James crumpled to his knees. “Now I understand why you became man, I understand.” he whispered, his head bowed, chin touching chest.  

      The warmth of his tears were felt on his icy cheeks.  “I now understand the Gift celebrated by many on this day.”

         May you have a great and gratefuChristmas!

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