Sunday, December 25, 2005

The first noel

Don't believe that Christmas was a miracle? Try following a "yonder" star sometime. And give it a whirl in the dead of winter, with a couple of pals, everybody on camels. In such trying circumstances, the real miracle would be arriving at the manger without at least one of your trio having been left bloodied and unconsious on the shores of Galilee. (Surviving two wise men to Bethlehem police: "Damn accidental, tragic, accidental camel trampling. Did we mention it was an accident?") Actually, do we know that the Magi didn't start out as a group of four?

As for the gifts of the Magi, gold makes perfect sense. Goes well with swadling, holds its value over time. (And what did Mary and Joseph ever do with that gold? The New Testament makes no mention of the Christ child being the beneficiary of a college trust fund. A question to ask the Virgin Mother next time she appears to you on a grilled cheese sandwhich.) But what in the name of, well, you know, is a newborn supposed to do with frankinsence and myrrh - essentially, potpurri?

Oh, now I get it. (Cue heavenly chorus.) Potpurri... because they are in a manger. With all the smelly goats. And asses. Very wise.
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