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The End of the Story

December 24



Merry Christmas!


Part 7


VII

 

I wake to my master shaking my reins. He wants to lead me into the stable. This, this must be what the star intended all along, to introduce my master and me to a new god, the Messiah. But the star is not my friend, and I don't like the star, and I don't want to find out what this fearsome Messiah will do to me. The Messiah is greater and more terrible than any other god.

 

I pull at my reins. I don't want to go. I fight my master all the way across the courtyard, until, trembling, I stand before the door to the stable. The door opens, and there is nowhere else to go but through.

 

Inside, the stable is dark, except for the moonlight.

 

"There you are," says a voice from the ceiling. The owl is perched in one of the dark corners.

I can barely speak. "Is it you?" I whisper. "Are you the Messiah?"

 

"No."

 

A mouse scurries across the floor. Surely that is not a Messiah. "Cattle are lowing in their stalls. "One of them?" I ask.

 

"No."

 

Some sheep huddle together in a nearby pen. One of them? I ask.

 

"The Messiah is like them," says the Owl. "But no, the Messiah is not actually one of them."

 

Near the center of the room, a man and a woman sit on a pile of hay.

 

"They must be the Messiah," I said.

 

The owl shakes her head. "No." She moves her big, round eyes, down toward the floor. I follow her gaze. Between the man and the woman, a baby is lying in a manger.

 

"Him?"

 

The owl nods.

 

"But is He not like the other gods?" I exclaim. "One who is powerful, one who can create and uncreate, give and take life?

 

"He is."

 

"Then what kind of god would become a baby, who is weak and needs his mother and father?"

 

"One who wants to be like you, to be near you, to be your friend."

 

I lower my head so I can better see the baby. He looks so ordinary, but he is not. I close my eyes and try to understand the mystery:

 

This baby Messiah is the One whose love moves the earth beneath my feet; and moves the moon, the planets, and all my friends the stars around the sky; and yet He is also here, come to live with me.

 

Try as I might, I do not fully understand it, but I do understand that this mystery drew one star across a very big desert to announce him, so I kneel.


MOVE the wisemen to the manger.


Kneel and pray thanksgiving for this Christmas Eve.

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