Jesus Christ had long been
concern۔d that for the Christmas celebration of his birthday on planet Earth,
he had a rival. A rival he wuz lose۔ing ground
Do۔d Santa Claus represent
the devil? Earth-resident angels wuz dispatch۔ing
back mix۔y yet disturb۔y messages. All warn۔d
that Santa's influence wuz increase۔ing. Therefore Jesus,
as the two-millenniums birthday of his mortal life on that planet approach۔d,
decide۔d to go see for hisself.
Since his first sojourn on
Earth, the planet’s human population had increase۔d from a few hundred millions
to more than six billions, while technology had advance۔d from metal plows and
swords to moon·walks and city-incinerat۔y rocket bombs. Meanwhile Jesus' teach۔ins had become the
basis of the most popular religion, that of more than one-third of all
peoples, whose main religious holiday wuz Christmas. Who, then, wuz the upstart Santa Claus, and
what wuz his rival philosophy that wuz so compel۔y?
Jesus choose۔d to
materialize on Christmas Eve dur the year of his dee۔2,000 birthday. It dint hurt his feel۔ins
that peoples celebrate۔d it on the wrong day, but he would have prefer۔d one other than 25 December, the year۔y festive day of Mithraism, a popular pagan religion then. He choose۔d the
town of Middleburg, with 45,461 residents, the center of a farm۔in community locate۔d
slight۔by south۔ward of Great Lakes in east·central North America – the heart
on 24 December Jesus materialize۔d by the alter of Middleburg Christ Church
(dezert۔t at the time), near the center of town, as a man 33 years old (his age
when peoples kill۔d he dur his first incarnation). Clothe۔t in the fashion of the time·place (brown trousers and
white shirt beneath a long tan wool coat), his skin tan۔ish
brown, his thick brown slight۔by curl۔y head×hairs cut۔d short, beard and mustache fresh۔ly shave۔t. He resemble۔d less a carpentor than, forex, a local
farm equipment sales۔man.
When fresh۔ly incarnate۔t
Jesus walk۔d out of the little red-brick۔y white-steeple۔y church, snow·flakes wuz
fall۔ing. A glisten۔ing white mantle
cover۔d everythin – street and sidewalks, roofs, car-tops, hats. The four-lanes۔y plus two park۔in-lanes۔y street wuz jam۔d with cars, the sidewalks clog۔d with fast-walk۔ing peoples
wear۔ing heavy coats, most carry۔ing bundles.
Jesus approach۔d a crowd
wait۔ing to cross the street and ask۔d
in England۔ese with Ohio province languageaccent, “What iz everybody do۔ing?”
Several heads turn۔d to
lookstare. One mid۔age۔y man final۔ly say۔d,
“Purchase۔ing Christmas gifts.”
Peoples rush۔d in and out of stores that twinkle۔d with flash۔ing colorful (most often red and green) signs advertise۔ing, "Xmas sale", "Bake۔in turkeys",
"Post-Xmas Sale December dee۔26”, "Santa Beckon", "Xmas
Dinner for 4, only $99.99", “Xmas Eve Xmas Card Sale”. From hide۔t mics sound۔d music whose lyrics glorify۔d
the come۔in of Santa Claus, Jesus'
rival. A park·landlot contain۔ing a forest
of amputate۔t (root۔less) pine trees feature۔d a giant sign, "Xmas Trees".
"Xmas", for the
newcomor, remain۔d a puzzle. "What do
X mean?" he ask۔d as passby۔or, a teenagor of non۔determine۔able gender, who shrug۔d ta's shoulders,
mutter۔ing, "I dont know," and look۔d at Jesus askance. Another young man dint know either, and a mid۔age۔y
woman seem۔d too much in a hurry to respond.
But an old man stop۔d and answer۔d.
"X equal Christ."
At Jesus’ continue۔d puzzle۔d expression he add۔d, "Xmas uses less
space and iz thus quick۔er to write, forex if you iz print۔ing a big sign or scribble۔ing many Christmas cards;” he pause۔d, eye۔ing the strangort close۔ly
as though first time; "Where have you been? Who iz you?" The first question seem۔d to Jesus too
difficult to explain, thus he answer۔d the second: “Dub me X."
Jesus continue۔d to ask
questions (ignore۔ing lookstares, along with poor۔ly conceal۔d
reactions range۔ing from puzzlement to curiosity to pity to anger), as the
answers gradual۔ly explain۔d the situation:
peoples wuz follow۔ing a ritual in which everybody wuz obligate۔t to
give everybody they care۔d about -- family, good friends, value۔t service peoples, customors – atleast one gift. General۔ly, how much money, time, and effort
spend۔d on the gift reflect۔d the degree of care۔ing. Consider۔ing peoples’ natural tendency to procrastinate,
that account۔d for the day-before-Christmas purchase۔in frenzy.
Further along, on one of Middleburg's main
streets, a group of childs stand۔d by a clothes store window sing۔ing Christmas
carols. Jesus stroll۔d over to listen. "Jingle bells", they sing۔d, then
"Santa Claus iz come۔ing to town", then "Rudolf
the red-nose Reindeer", follow۔d by “Here come Santa Claus.” Final۔ly, veer۔ing away from the main subject,
of a white Christmas", and "Chestnuts roast۔ing on an open
When they pause۔d, Jesus
walk۔d up and ask۔d they, "What do Christmas mean to you, kids?"
"Toys!" "Gifts!" "No school!" "Grandma come۔ing!” Turkey!”
“Pie with icecream!” “Toys! “Santa Claus!”
“What about X?” Jesus joke۔d.
drive۔ort , un۔patient at stall۔t traffic, tiltlean۔d on his car horn. Out of the car ahead of he, also obvious۔ly non۔able
to move because of the non۔mobile car in front of it, appear۔d an arm shake۔ing a
fist at the horn-honkort.
A woman load۔d with three
big packages slosh۔d along the sidewalk and bump۔d Jesus, force۔ing he to step with both cloth shoes into a snow pile. Many store windows display۔d Christmas trees
drape۔t with silver۔y tinsel, and lace۔t with colorful lights and fist-size۔y
shine۔y ornaments, with colorful۔ly coverwrap۔t gifts scatter۔t at they’s bases.
Most displays contain۔d draw۔ins of a fat white-beard۔y old man wear۔ing
a flop۔y red cap and a red coat and trousers trim۔t with white fur, his face, with red cheeks, jolly.
Jesus eye۔d the image of his
rival, wonder۔ing how such an obvious۔by goodnature۔y man link۔d (in ways Jesus had yet to determine) to so much gift-give۔in could possible۔ly be a threat.
So far, not a hint of Santa’s
a-ling. Ding, a-ling, a-ling.
A ring۔ing bell capture۔d Jesus’
attention. Then Jesus see۔d he: the jolly man hisself, easy۔ly recognize۔able in his
red and white uniform protrude۔ing out۔ward to
accommodate۔ing his bulge۔y belly, wear۔ing his humorous cap, his face red from cold, but smile۔ing wide۔ly as he ring۔d a brass hand-hold۔d
Santa. I×iz Jesus."
"Nice to meet you,
Jesus," respond۔d the old man, his laugh-lines deepen۔ing. "Christmas gift
coverwrap۔in half-price today," he add۔d.
"I notice you iz quite
popular around here," Jesus continue۔d.
"Today and tomorrow,
Santa iz the most popular people on this planet."
Santa's birthday tomorrow, iz we?" Jesus probe۔d.
"Santa iz certain۔ly the
star of the show."
“What about Jesus?”
“What about he?”
“Tomorrow iz my birthday,
“Sure. But you iz not go۔ing to see people queue۔d
for a chance to speak to Jesus, no indeed.
Few will even take the time – between dis۔coverwrap۔ing gifts and gobble۔ing down turkeys – to go to
Jesus ponder۔d that
answer, then ask۔d, “What iz your teach۔ins, Santa?”
“My teach۔ins?” The man laugh۔d. “Look, as one impersonate۔or to
another...” He pause۔d.
“You iz·not the real
Santa?” Jesus ask۔d in surprise.
"Iz you joke۔ing?" The man look۔d at he as if he wuz crazy. “Middleburg Shop۔in Mall pay me to stand here
and ring this bell and coax people to go inside. I×iz not the real Santa any more than you iz the real Jesus."
Disappoint۔d, Jesus ask۔d,
"Then where can I find the real Santa?"
"Ho, ho, ho!"
respond۔d the man with a jolly conversation-end۔ing tone. "Tonight, look up in the sky!"
Later the sky
darken۔d. The streets empty۔d, until final۔ly
all the stores shut۔d. Jesus wander۔d
out of town, to farm country with low wide white snow-cover۔t hills, and into an open barn shelter۔ing black cows – a significant upgrade from the stable in which dur his first
incarnation in Earth he had been birth۔t. There, in an empty horse stall line۔d with hay, he pull۔d his coat
over he, and pass۔d to sleep.
He wuz awake۔t by the
sound of bells. It wuz still night, black
dark, when he stand۔d, stretch۔d, shiver۔d, coverwrap۔d his coat more tight۔ly around he, and venture۔d
outside. The snow had stop۔d fall۔ing
and the sky had almost clear۔d: star-strew۔t, lace۔t with a few puffy clouds, one brighten۔t by the obscure۔t moon, illuminate۔ing the snow cover۔ing the farm.
Sudden۔ly, high in the sky, he
notice۔d five pairs of reindeers, lead۔d by one with a red nose, joint۔ly pull۔ing a
snowsleigh, load۔d with white bundles, behind which wuz seat۔d none other than
clear۔by recognize۔able jolly red-clothe۔t Santa hisself. Come۔ing from the direction of town, the reindeers-pull۔ing the snowsleigh descend۔d toward the smoke۔less red-brick
chimney of the farm·house next to Jesus' barn.
The snowsleigh and the
light-foot۔y reindeers touchland۔d on the snow۔y roof. Santa jump۔d off, grab۔d a white pillow-size
bundle, walk۔d precarious۔ly toward the chimney (slip۔ing but catch۔ing
hisself), then suck۔d in his tummy and jump۔d down. The bundle, however, become۔d wedge۔t, wiggle۔d, final۔ly disappear۔d down۔ward also.
Loyalty bribes, Jesus
“Ho, ho, ho!” echo۔d up۔ward,
it’s tone one of delight, and moments later Santa climb۔d back out of the chimney. With his gloves
he dust۔d off black carbonsoot, before climb۔ing back onto
Stand۔ing at the rear of
the house, Jesus cup۔d his glove۔clad hands around his mouth and call۔d up,
"Santa! Santa! We need to talk."
jolly good fellow curse۔d. "Cant you
see I iz busy?"
"How do۔d you know it
wuz me?" Jesus ask۔d, realize۔ing that the spiritual powers of his rival could
be more formidable than the angels had assess۔d.
Santa, annoy۔y, continue۔d,
"Tonight iz my big night. Do you
have any idea how many houses I must visit before sunrise?" In a friend۔yer tone he add۔d, "Come up to the Northpole and see me. Anytime after Christmas." He turn۔d.
Reindeers move۔d they’s
hoofs as though prance۔ing in air, as the snowsleigh lift۔d
from the roof and accelerate۔d toward a cloud.
Santa raise۔d his red-clothe۔t arm with a wave goodbye, as
his "Ho, ho, ho!" trail۔d in the chill۔y wind.
Dur Christmas mornin, as snow·flakes fall۔d, distant church bells ring۔d, instill۔ing in Jesus hope. The general rule for spirit materialization wuz: only when necessary, then as non۔conspicuous
as possible. But Jesus need۔d to discover
as much as he could before Christmas end۔d.
Thus he walk۔d back toward the city, and when pass۔ing through a suburb
select۔d a typical house (one floor×level tall, rectangular, with a small front fence۔t yard), render۔d hisself
non۔visible, pass۔d through a wood۔y wall, and establish۔d hisself in the family
sit·room, in the corner behind the Christmas tree. A brown mutt approach۔d and sniff۔d
he, then trot۔d away.
At dawn a young couple
wear۔ing pajamas tiptoe۔d down the stairs carry۔ing packages – coverwrap۔d in colorful paper decorate۔t with images of bells,
sleighs, holly (red berryfruits flank۔t
with green leafs), and, most prominent۔ly, idolatrous images of Santa Claus – which they spread۔d beneath the
Christmas tree. Arm۔ful after arm۔ful
they bring۔d in, pile۔ing so many gifts beneath the tree that Jesus had to rise
to the ceil۔in and observe from there. Final۔ly,
gifts inplace, the couple tiptoe۔d back up·stairs.
Christmas mornin, when sun·light shine۔d through leaf۔less trees and into the family sit·room, two little childs,
a boy and his young۔er sister, both still wear۔ing pajamas,
walk۔d sleep۔yly down·stairs, and emit۔d crys of
joy. "Santa wuz here!" "Look what Santa bring۔d we!"
Parents follow۔d, all
exchange۔d hugs, and the childs tear۔d open the packages with practice۔d
dexterity, while they's father sit۔d in an easy chair write۔ing who give۔d what to who.
Wild exclamations follow۔d the dis۔coverwrap۔in of
each gift. "Not another necktie!"
"Look, a toy car alike Alfonso’s!" "Pink
pajamas!" "Who iz the box of
chocolates from?" "A toy gun
and holster!" “A toy piano!” The man open۔d a box contain۔ing a sweater,
and the woman a much small۔er box contain۔ing a pendant, then husband and wife kiss۔d.
Next, initiate۔d by the woman, clean-up ensue۔d, the man’s
new task being to check each empty box and package to be certain it wuz empty
before cramstuff۔ing it in a dark-green garbage bag. As the childs play۔d with they's new toys, the woman in the kitchen insert۔d a turkey into the oven
and begin۔d peel۔ing skins from potatos, while in the man carry۔d more
chairs into the dine·room.
Jesus, happy with the
gift-give۔ing ritual, and fresh۔ly stimulate۔d by the renew۔t sound of church bells, exit۔d the house through the shut۔d front
door, re۔materialize۔d, walk۔d on pack۔t snow past the lookalike houses, continue۔ing
back toward the commercial district.
In town all the stores wuz shut۔t. No cars drive۔d
on the snow۔y streets, and only one other pedestrian (an old man) brave۔d the
cold – in sharp contrast to the evenin before.
Jesus experience۔d a wave of lonely۔ness. He walk۔d back to Middleburg Christ Church,
glad to see that both it’s tall front door wuz open۔d wide, and peoples wuz
enter۔ing – but only a few, most with wither۔y skin and gray hairs. Jesus follow۔d
they in. When the service begin۔d, only
the front three pews, out of 27, wuz occupy۔t, and those scant۔ly.
The service begin۔d with a
live۔y song by the choir, to a background of organ music: "Oh Come All Ye Faithful," which
invigorate۔d Jesus. Then the
parishionors, some read۔ing from pamphlets, chant۔d affirmations of they's beliefs,
most general۔ly true, Jesus judge۔d, although they seem۔d to believe that he wuz
God’s one and only child. Another
hymnsong, "A Little Town of Bethlehem", the hamlet of Jesus'
first-incarnation birth, touch۔d Jesus with nostalgia. Then the minister۔or upstep۔d the three steps
of the pulpit and preach۔d a sermon about Jesus’ birth in a
stable, and the three kings who follow۔d stars and bring۔d gifts. `Not exact۔ly the way mom and dad tell۔d it,’
remember۔d Jesus, `but close enough.’
The service end۔d with joyful sing۔ing of “Joy to the world, the Lord have
When the service end۔d,
Jesus, stroll۔ing through the town, feel۔d buoyant. Apparent۔ly few peoples go۔d to church Christmas mornin, but some go۔d, and Jesus had
never advocate۔d church or synagogue, although he grateful۔ly acknowledge۔d
that without organize۔t religion his core message would not have survive۔d.
He pass۔d a restaurant
surround with cars, advertise۔t with flash۔ing lights, a red and green neon
sign flash۔ing “Open Xmas”, while an amp blast۔d pre۔record۔t Jingle Bells.
Far۔er along, as he walk۔d past a row of modest houses, a door
open۔d, and a man call۔d, “Friend,
have you no one to eat Christmas dinner with?”
Jesus turn۔d. A fat man with no coat stand۔d in his door·way.
“Actual۔ly, no,” Jesus
“Then you must share with
we. Come, welcome.” He motion۔d Jesus forward.
“Thank you!” call۔d back
Jesus, and step۔d forward.
Inside the house, small
and modest۔ly furnish۔t, smell۔t of roast turkey. Introductions seem۔d awkward, because Jesus introduce۔d
hisself simple as “Jesus”, a personal·name not utilize۔d north of river Rio
Grand, although common south of it. Beside
the host, Bob Lyon, and his wife Martha, wuz they's three teenage childs and the
youngstors’ four grandparents. “We usual۔ly
invite somebody with nobody to spend Christmas dinner with,” Bob explain۔d,
“but this year nobody turn۔d up... Until
“Certain۔ly happy to meet
yous·all,” respond۔d Jesus smile۔ing broad۔ly, “and glad be part of your
Christmas celebration.” Not to mention
Christmas dinner: Jesus wuz hunger۔y.
The three womans walk۔d into
the kitchen, while the childs play۔d with they's toys around the Christmas
tree, which blink۔d cheery۔ly, as Christmas carols, some feature۔ing
Jesus, some Santa, play۔d on a record۔in machine.
“Dinner iz ready!” call۔d out Martha.
Spread۔d on the elongate۔t
table, clothe۔d with a lace۔y table·cloth, on a wide silver dish lay۔d a dead turkey, up-side-down with it’s legs jut۔ing up۔ward, roast۔d to golden brown color, surround by big bowls of white
whip۔t potatos, green greenpeas, tan gravy, and scarlet cranberry sauce. Bob carry۔d in a tall pitcher of white cow’s milk. Jesus, as he
look۔d on, experience۔d his adopt۔t body's taste glands water۔ing.dish
When everybody wuz seat۔d they
all bow۔d they's heads, as Bob say۔d, “Thank you, God, for bring۔ing we altogether
for another Christmas. Please bless our family,
the strangor in our midst, and all Christians. Happy birthday, Jesus!”
“Thank you!” cry۔d out
Jesus in a spasm of emotion. “God bless
Bob stand۔d hold۔ing the
carve knife. “Ladys first, please pass your dishes.”
Eat۔in wuz most۔ly in
silence, with scatter۔d comments about how yum۔y the taste, and dishes pass۔d for more.
Then the womans serve۔d pumpkin pies, top۔d with whip۔t cream.
Early evenin, all nine membors of the family plus Jesus join۔d others
walk۔ing from house to house, stand۔ing outside each front door sing۔ing
Christmas carols, most۔ly, except when childs wuz prominent, songs with religious themes.
Jesus listen۔d the words, and hum۔d the tunes, final۔ly depart۔ing
amid heart۔y goodbyes.
Not fancy۔ing another freeze۔y night in a barn, and in the spirit world there being no
time, Jesus transfer۔d hisself to the follow۔in mornin. In the rich۔est nation the busy۔est shop۔in
day of the year wuz the day after Christmas, when
millions peoples exchange۔d they's gifts for somethin that fit۔d better or that
they want۔d more. Middleburg's main
streets become۔d even more clog۔d with peoples slosh۔ing through dirt۔y snow lug۔ing
packages, in what appear۔d to be an aftershock of greed, but wuz really, Jesus
determine۔d after observe۔ing it all mornin, an intelligent re۔allocation of limit۔y resources.
Work holiday, give۔ing gifts, prayers, charity, feast۔ing with family and friends –
seem۔d to Jesus a great way to celebrate his dee۔2,000 birthday. The spirit of Christmas seem۔d entire۔ly appropriate. Dur the final
gift-purchase۔in frenzy with hundreds of strangors crowd۔d together with limit۔y
time, almost everybody wuz considerate. The
commercialization of Christmas dint bother he:
the new۔ly wealth۔y wuz expect۔t to over-indulge (common everywhere in
the universe), and merchants wuz expect۔t to exploit the gift obligation –
although he hisself would have prefer۔d to be equate۔d with an alphabet letter other
than X; J, forex. Jesus feel۔d happy,
and nolonger concerned that a rival doctrine wuz sideline۔ing his message of universal
before depart۔ing Earth, he still had questions for
Santa. Therefore he decide۔d to accept the jolly man’s invitation to visit.
Accord۔ly, because he dint have money and to save Earth۔y time, Jesus
re-materialize۔d on planet Earth’s Northpole –
an ice·sheet beneath a black sky ablaze with stars. Wear۔ing a warm coat, and snow·shoes, he waddle۔d
toward to a nearby illuminate۔t ice-block complex, and stroll۔d under an ice
arch engrave۔t with words in 87 languages "Santa's Workshop". In the administrative office an elf (half the
height of Ohioans), despite being non۔able to confirm Jesus' identity, after
send۔ing a messagor to verify that he had indeed been invite۔t, and grumble۔ing that 26 December wuz Santa's day of well-earn۔t rest – usher۔d he
in, utter۔ing an introduction.
They two meet۔d in a
rather small room shape۔t alike the top half
of a globe. Santa wuz dress۔d in his usual
red suit line۔d with what, up close, Jesus confirm۔d wuz white polar·bearmammal
fur. Respectful۔ly, Santa remove۔d his red
cap – reveal۔ing that he wuz bald. His cheeks wuz rose۔y, and his face feature۔d a wide smile and twinkle۔ing eyes – prompt۔ing Jesus to thank God for send۔ing he such a jovial rival. Santa’s eyes, Jesus notice۔d, do۔d seem weary
– expect۔t after a long night of dash۔ing around the planet dispense۔ing gifts.
The two man warm۔ly shake۔d rightside hands, North
American style, after which Santa apologize۔d for not have۔ing any ice۔less
As they sit۔d, the host declare۔d, “I know who iz naughty
and who iz nice.
You, I notice۔d immediate۔ly, iz very very nice – which iz why I give۔d
you the most covet۔t gift of all?”
expression form۔d a question.
invitation to Santa’s worship.’
“A wonderful gift. Thank you indeed!” Jesus lower۔d his head. “Here I iz, the
inspiration for Christmas, arrive۔ing without a single gift.”
“That iz my actrole,” say۔d Santa with a jolly voice. “Many folks cant afford gifts, but everybody
can write a letter and send it to Santa.
Mere۔ly ask, and if you wuz good throughout the year, you will receive.”
Jesus exclaim۔d in happy surprise. “That
iz close to my message!”
message iz universal.” Santa chuckle۔d. “Mine iz a bit near۔er to home. Hence popular.”
“We iz say۔ing
the same thing,” Jesus reason۔d outloud, “from different perspectives: yours materialistic, mine
spiritual.” He pause۔d. “We iz complimentary.”
smile۔d wide۔ly, then his face become۔d serious. “As people become accustom۔d to have۔ing
whatever they want, they will feel less compulsion to collect things, and the
pendulum will swing back toward the spiritual.”
compliment۔d Jesus, nod۔ing in agreement.
“Same pattern everywhere in the universe.” He pause۔d.
“I had not earhear۔d you wuz such an intellectual.”
change. The elfs must be prepare۔t.
silence Jesus say۔d, “Correct me if I iz wrong, Santa. You bring all the gifts, but most gifts leave۔d
beneath family Christmas trees iz from kin to kin.” He pause۔d.
“Dont anybody wonder how a gift from, say, they's parents, wuz bring۔d down
the chimney in your bag?”
do not, no.”
if I may pose the question – do no one question how a Santa with a wonderful
girth many times thick۔er than a chimney hole can slide up and down so quick۔ly?” Before he could answer Jesus continue۔d. “Or how you gallop through the sky? Or how you visit hundreds of millions of
houses in a single night?”
ho!” As Santa laugh۔d his belly shake۔d. “All part of the magic of Christmas.”
smile۔d admire۔ly at Santa’s issue-dissolve۔ing answer.
“Ironic,” add۔d Santa. “Usual۔ly after about five or six years, childs cease believe۔ing in me. Almost
no adults do. Only the little ones
believe I iz real.” He point۔d to his chest. “Yet here I iz.”
appear once a year,” comment۔d Jesus, “while I have not been here dur two
nod۔d. “Yet billions of peoples believe
At the discrepancy,
Santa's expression widen۔d
into a jolly pose. "Ho, ho,