Sunday, December 19, 2010

Jesus Has a Birthday, or, Three Magi of Very Little Brain

Jesus sighed.

"Pathetic," he sighed. "That's what it is. Pathetic."

He rolled over to the other side of the manger.

"Just as I suspected," he muttered to himself. "Straw. Just the same as the other side." He sneezed from the hay dust, and glumly rolled back to the first side. "But nobody minds. Nobody cares. Pathetic, that's what it is."

There was a shimmering noise outside the stable, and the angel Gabriel peeked in.

"Good morning, O Lord," said Gabriel.

"Good morning, Gabriel," said Jesus. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.

"Why, what's the matter?"

"Nothing, Gabriel, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."

"Can't all what?" said Gabriel, rubbing his nose.

"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Hallelujah and all that."

"Oh," said Gabriel. He thought for a long time and then began singing softly to himself.

"Angels we have heard on high,
Sweetly singing o'er the plains.
And the mountains in reply,
echoing their sweet refrains."

"That's right," said Jesus. "Sing. Rum-pa-pum-pum. Here we go gathering Nuts and May. Enjoy yourself."

"I am," beamed Gabriel.

"Some can," said Jesus.

"Why, what's the matter, My Lord?"

"Is anything the matter?"

"You seem so sad, O lord."

"Sad? Why in heaven should I be sad? It's my birthday, Gabriel. The happiest day of the year."

"Your birthday?" said Gabriel in great surprise.

Jesus rolled his eyes, trying to resist explaining that he wasn't anywhere the night before, and how he was here, and so that meant he was born, and so this was his birth day. Gabriel sometimes could be so ... so ... well, he could be sometimes.

"Yes, it's my birthday, Gabriel. Can't you see? Look at this festive decor. Look at all the presents waiting for me." He waved a tiny hand from side to side. "Look at the birthday cake. Candles and pink sugar."

Gabriel looked - first to the left and then to the right.

"Presents, O Lord? Cake?"

"Can't you see them?"

"No," said Gabriel.

"Neither can I," said Jesus. Gabriel stared at him blankly.

"Joke," he explained. "Ha ha."

Gabriel scratched his head.

"Well, a great happy birthday to you, O Lord and Savior. Many happy returns of the day!"

"And many happy returns to you, Gabriel."

"Oh. But it isn't my birthday."

"No, it's mine."

"Yes. And many happy ..." Gabriel paused, unsure where to go next, and decided to step out of the stable before he became more confused. Jesus was alone again in the manger.

"Pathetic," he said again.

~ ~ ~

Melchior ran towards Jerusalem, excited. In his hands he clutched a vessel containing a large amount of myrrh.

"Oh, won't he be so happy?" Melchior thought excitedly. He had never met the Lord before - Jesus had only just been born - but he would love myrrh. Myrrh was such a soothing balm, and had so many uses. What would he wish to do with so much myrrh? He thought. Maybe he would burn it for the wonderful fragrance. Maybe it would be used as a balm to soothe His Holy skin. He wondered if he, Melchior, would be allowed to rub it onto His skin. And he thought about this, and about myrrh, and how sweet it smelled, and of a time when his own mother had rubbed his back and arms with myrrh. And running along, and thinking how pleased Jesus would be, he didn't look where he was going ... and suddenly he put his foot in a hole and fell down flat on his face.


Melchior lay there, wondering what had happened. At first he thought a great wind had blown him off his feet, and then he wondered what part of the world he had ended up in. He would have to find the star again to get his bearings again. But no, wait, here was the star, in the Eastern sky just as it was before. Unless he had been blown clear to the moon and was looking down onto the star from the moon. He wondered how he would ever get down from the moon and see the Lord again.

And then he stood up and saw that he was still in the same land where he started.

"Well, that's funny," he thought. "I wonder what happened? And where's all my myrrh? And why is the vessel filled up with sand now?"

He raised it to his nose to smell it. It smelled of myrrh. Myrrh-scented sand.

"Oh dear," said Melchior. "Oh dear, oh dearie dearie dear! Well, it's too late now. I can't go back, and I haven't any more myrrh, and perhaps Jesus doesn't like myrrh so very much."

He walked on, rather sadly now, and down he came to the stable where Jesus was, and he called out to him.

"Good morning, O Lord," said Melchior.

"Good morning, Melchior," said Jesus. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he. "Not that it matters," he said.

"Many happy returns of the day," said Melchior.

Jesus raised his head and stared at Melchior.

"Just say that again," he said.

"Many happy returns of the day."

"Meaning me?"

"Of course, O Lord."

"My birthday?"

"Yes," said Melchior.

"Me having a real birthday?"

"Yes, my Lord, and I've brought you a present."

Jesus rolled to the other side. "I must hear that in the other ear," he said. "Now then."

"A present," said Melchior very loudly.

"Meaning me again?"


"My birthday still?"

"Yes, and I brought you myrrh."

"Myrrh, you say?" said Jesus. "You did say myrrh? That lovely stuff that smells so nice, and that you rub all over and it makes you feel nice. Gaiety, tra la la, here we are and there we are?"

"Yes, my Lord. But I'm afraid- I'm very sorry, my Lord - but when I was running along to bring it to you, I fell down."

"Dear, dear, how unlucky! You ran too fast, I suspect. You didn't hurt yourself, dear Melchior?"

"No, but I - I - oh, my Lord Jesus, I spoiled the myrrh!"

There was a very long silence.

"My myrrh?" said Jesus at last.

Melchior nodded. He handed Jesus the vessel, which was filled with sand.

"Here it is. With - many happy returns of the day."

"Is this it?" said Jesus, a little surprised.

Melchior nodded.

"Thank you, Melchior," said Jesus. "Well, well." He sniffed a bit at the sand. "My favorite," he said to himself sadly. "Well, well."

Caspar and Balthasar stood now at the door of the stable, and Caspar called out, "Many happy returns of the day!"

"Thank you, I'm having them," said Jesus.

Balthasar called out, "Many happy returns of the day!"

Jesus didn't say thank you this time, so Balthasar started again. "Many happy returns..." Then he remembered he had already said that, and stopped himself.

"I've brought you a little present," they both said at once.

"I've had it," said Jesus, looking at his vessel of myrrh-scented sand.

Balthasar handed Jesus a lovely gold urn. "It's a Useful Golden Pot," said Balthasar. "Here it is. And it's got 'A Very Happy Birthday to the Child King' written on it. That's what all that carving is. And it's for putting things in. There!"

When Jesus saw the pot, he became quite excited.

"Why!" he said. "I believe my myrrh will just fit into that pot."

"Myrrh?" said Balthasar, confused. "Oh, no, myrrh is too sticky and gummy, and it needs a special type of pot. What you do with myrrh is, you take the myrrh-"

"Not mine," said Jesus proudly. "Look, Melchior!"

And as Melchior looked sorrowfully round, Melchior picked up the sandy myrrh and poured it in a great long stream into the golden urn.

"So it does!" said Balthasar. "It goes in!"

"So it does!" said Melchior. "And it comes out!"

Caspar, who was standing at the door with handfuls of frankincense in his hands, said nothing.

"Doesn't it?" said Jesus. "It goes in and out like anything."

"I'm very glad," said Balthasar," that I thought of giving you a Useful Pot to put things in."

"I'm very glad," said Melchior happily, "that I thought of giving you Something to put in a Useful Pot."

Caspar, having nothing to say, placed his frankincense at the foot of Jesus' manager and continued looking like someone who cannot think of anything to say.

Jesus didn't say anything at all. He was pouring the sand into the golden urn, and back into its vessel, and back again, as happy as could be...

1 comment:

tia said...

Perfect! The baby Jesus as Eeyore cracked me right up, but I'm irreverent like that.