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Christmas

The Elephant Wishes Baby Jesus A Happy Birthday On Christmas

I am not a total Scrooge, and have written some Christmas tales.  Here is a wee segment –  though a huge event – from The Elephant Talks To God:

800px-elephant_near_ndutu

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“I want to see you,” said the elephant, and the words raced from his mouth. “I don’t have to see you, you know that. I’ve believed even before you talked to me. But I want to see you, it would mean so much. I wasn’t around for the Baby, but cows and sheep and things got to see Him. I can’t explain but it would … “

“Go home,” said the cloud.

“You’re not angry with me?” said the elephant.

“No.” The cloud started moving away. “It’s an honest request.” The rain stopped falling. “Thank you for coming.”

“You’re welcome,” said the elephant.

“Sing some carols,” the voice was distant. “I like them.”

The elephant turned and started through the woods.

He ignored the tasty leaves within easy reach and the tall grass near the brook. He wanted to get home as quickly as possible so he could join the singing he knew was happening later in the evening.

He turned along the trail, snapping a branch here and there in his haste, when he noticed the stillness, the hush which had overtaken the forest.

He slowed down, and then stopped in his tracks.

He turned his head, his small eyes squinting into the brush. There was movement coming toward him, and when the trees parted, he went to his knees with a gasp.

Tears rolled from his eyes, and a golden trunk gently wiped them away.

(Image) https://geographydirections.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/800px-elephant_near_ndutu.jpg

[The Elephant Talks To God] https://www.amazon.ca/Elephant-Talks-God-Dale-Estey-ebook/dp/B003ZUXXEM

Baby Jesus Touches Ivory On Christmas Eve

In my novel, A Lost Gospel, a Unicorn is present at the birth of Jesus.This is something – as far as I know – not disputed by religious scholars. Glarus, the Celtic priestess who accompanied the Unicorn, describes this event to Bettine and Sirona, themselves young women attending unicorns. Glarus was asked to be present at the birth by the astrologers seeking the Baby. We know of them as the Three Wise Men, or Kings.


“The kings had some information, but the rest they had to figure out. They had

surrounded themselves with astrologers, navigators and philosophers. They knew

from the Jew’s Holy Book that the baby was to be born in Bet Lehem, and the Star

helped lead them to that town. We didn’t need the Star the last couple of days, but

it had given us comfort during a hard and uncomfortable trip. That last night we

waited on the outskirts of the town, and went in after sunset.”

     “Were you afraid?” Sirona leaned closer.

     “No. Why would I be?”

     “You were going to see god.” Bettine glanced at Sirona as she spoke.

     “To see God is a joy – not a fear.”

     “And was he a baby?” Sirona giggled. “A baby god.”

     “It was a time for the paying of taxes to Caesar, and Bet Lehem was crowded with people.” Glarus examined the fire for a moment. “The inns and resting places were fully occupied. We finally found Yeshua and his parents in a barn, beside one of the inns. He was settled with the animals, and sleeping in the hay.”

     “But this was a god.”

     “Yes.”

     “But – ” Bettine sounded perplexed. “He should have been in a temple – or a palace. Not surrounded by animals.”

     “There are more barns than palaces.” Glarus nudged the wood in the fire with a poker. “And more animals than priests. God is god of the world – not some carved gold in a temple.”

     “But god can have whatever he wants.”

     “Yes.” Glarus leaned forward and touched the young woman. “So remember what he chose.”

     “What was god like?” Sirona was impatient, and pulled on Glarus’ skirt.

     “God was the baby of a woman. A baby such as any of us could have.” Glarus looked at them closely. “You must not forget that. This god is as much man as god.” She stood suddenly and leaned toward the fireplace. “He was asleep when we entered. Even his mother was dozing as she held him.”

     “What was she like?” Sirona didn’t realize one question interrupted another.

     “Her name was Mary.” Glarus removed the pot from the open flame, and placed it upon a squat stone jutting into the hearth. “She smiled as her head nodded – she seemed quite peaceful. She was attractive, but not what one would call beautiful. She didn’t seem much older than me.” Glarus looked mildly surprised. “She could still be alive, for that matter. She certainly seemed healthy enough.”

     “Did she talk to you?” Sirona leaned forward, the heat of the fire against her face.

     “She spoke to the ones who knew her tongue.” Glarus looked down at the women. “But no – not to me.” She suddenly smiled. “I saw her glancing at me a few times, as her husband talked to the others. And she took a liking to the unicorn – as did the baby.”

     “Did she – “

     “What I felt most was her bewilderment.” Glarus didn’t realize she had interrupted Bettine. “She must have wondered why rich and powerful people were crowding into a barn to see her son. Giving birth for the first time was enough to get used to.”

     The women were silent for awhile. Glarus stirred the pot, and tasted the liquid in the ladle. Bettine looked curiously around the house, while Sirona stared thoughtfully at her mother. She was hearing things she had never heard before.

     “When did the baby wake up?” Bettine’s question broke into the silence.   

     “We hadn’t been there long.” Glarus began moving about the room, gathering mugs together, along with food and utensils. “I think I was the first to notice. I just followed the lead of the unicorn, which already was walking toward him.”

     “Did he touch the unicorn?”

     “Yes.” Glarus took a loaf of bread from a cupboard, and removed some wedges of

cheese from a pottery jar. “It was obvious Mary had never seen such a creature. I

don’t think she was afraid, but she was hesitant to let the unicorn get too close

to the baby.” Glarus ladled the hot drink into the mugs. “However, Yeshua reached

out with his tiny hands, and tried to touch the ivory horn.”

     “Did he touch you?” Bettine sipped the drink, and found the fruit tasted as if it were off the tree.

     “Mary let me hold him, as she and Joseph prepared some of their food for the kings.” Glarus passed the platter of bread and cheese to the young women. “Food less grand than this. But still, the best of what they had.”

       “You held god in your hands?” Sirona marvelled at the secrets she had never heard.

     “Yes. While the others ate.”

     “What was it like?”

     “Damp.” Glarus looked at them both and laughed. “He was a warm and wet little baby, open-mouthed and smiling one moment, squeezing up his eyes in frustration the next. I still had the smell of myrrh on me, and he pushed his face into my breast, making contented baby noises. To the others, it looked as if he were trying to get fed. Joseph said something which made the others laugh.” Glarus chuckled as she took a bite of cheese. “When I finally heard what it was, I smiled too, even though I was embarrassed.”

     “What did he say?” Sirona and Bettine asked the question together.

     “Well. It’s no secret I’m big up here.” Glarus placed an arm across her chest. “I’ve had too much attention from too many men to let me forget.” Glarus cut more slices from the loaf of bread. “Joseph had said, that if the baby became too used to me, they’d have to use one of the cows after I left.”

     “What did you say?” Sirona shared a glance with Bettine.

     “It wasn’t my place to say anything. Anyway, I could tell he wasn’t trying to be offensive – or attentive. He was a poor man surrounded by rich and powerful strangers, and he was trying to be accepted.”

     “Did Mary say anything?”

     “Mary did not push out her garment, even if she was full of milk. After the laughter had stopped, I dared glance at her. She gave a shy smile and shrugged her shoulders.”

     “If you hadn’t gone the way you did.” Bettine dipped her mug back into the flavoured drink. “Without following the star and the kings – would you have known Yeshua was a god?”

     “No.” Glarus sipped from her mug, then placed it on the table. “But the circumstances were not natural.” Glarus hesitated before slicing more cheese. “The unicorn would not have been present, and I would not have seen them share time.”

     “What did he do?”

     “The unicorn?”

     “Yes.”

     “Both.” Sirona was excited. “When they were together.”

      “They looked at each other with recognition.”

     “But – ” Sirona coughed over her drink. “They had never seen each other before.”

     “They saw more than just the bodies they possess.” Glarus placed her hands side-by-side on the table, almost touching. “When Mary realized the unicorn would do no harm, she held the baby this close to him. Yeshua reached a grasping little fist toward the ivory horn.” Glarus smiled at the two women. “You know how the unicorns avoid a stranger’s touch.”

     “Yes.” They both again spoke in unison, and laughed.

     “He bent his head carefully toward Mary, and let the tiny fingers rub against his horn. Yeshua’s eyes went wide as he sniffed him all over. The unicorn pawed in the dirt and the straw, and as much as his face is capable of smiling, I’d swear that he did.

     “He didn’t even mind when Mary began to scratch him behind the ears. He moved his head so she could stroke the base of his horn, which he loves most of all.”

     “I didn’t know of that place for years.” Bettine absently rubbed her fingers across the table. “I hesitated a long time before I even touched the horn. It can be so cold.”

     “They don’t encourage contact,” agreed Sirona.

     “Perhaps I was jealous. He encouraged Mary and the baby to do things for which I had waited years.” Glarus looked into the fire a long time. “He showed complete trust amid the strangers and the tumult. Usually, just the smell of humans and other animals make him disappear. This time, he ceased being wary, and concentrated fully on that little baby.”

     “And Yeshua?” Sirona stared at her mother. “What did he do?”

     “The baby turned his head, and stared at me.” Glarus again hesitated. “It was then I knew that I was looking into eyes which had seen the OtherWorld.”

(Image) https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Marienzyklus.jpg

I Saw The Star To The West Of The East

planets-jupiter-saturn-conjunction-seen-in-india-f-685x336-1

And – yes, I know – it is not really a *star* , but a conjunction of the two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, and they are no where close together but actually 456 million miles (734 million km) apart, with Saturn nearly twice as far away as Jupiter. 

And – yes, I know – it is not really a *star*, but a conjunction of the two planets, Jupiter and Saturn, and they are no where close together but actually 456 million miles (734 million km) apart, with Saturn nearly twice as far away as Jupiter.

But why quibble?

And I know I am two nights late (blame the clouds), and that (by now) a billion or so folk have already seen it (them). And, in truth, I could barely distinguish two separate heavenly bodies with the naked eye, and did not really do all that much better with my small (and – most certainly – non military-grade) binoculars.

And yes, as I sought the best non-Earth polluting light place to stand (in the very cold), and the Bay ferry came in, and it was a far more spectacular light show, moving at a right old clip to get to its berth and (I’d guess) eventual supper for all passengers and crew, well … still.

We were right chipper to see it, with crisp snow underfoot, and a half moon at our back, and it was well-worth the stomping of chilled feet and jack Frost (that wily old bastard) nipping at our ears and the promise of our own supper (and a snootful or two of wine) waiting for us in an hour or so (actually, a half hour now).

So we will be of good cheer, and a participatory part of the Earth’s population, and have a shared memory with all, and with each other.

And, if this conjunction is actually what certain ancient astrologers saw those two thousand years ago – well, bully for them, too.

And the wee Babe they found.

(Image) https://www.desiblitz.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Planets-Jupiter-Saturn-Conjunction-seen-in-India-f-685×336.jpg

Santa Claus In My Life And Me As Santa Claus

9011986_orig

I am no fan of having the Santa Claus story take such a bite out of Christmas, but I’m not against Santa Claus. In fact, we’ve had quite the relationship.

As a child, I had two ‘encounters’ with Santa. I can’t place the years, but I remember them from the houses I lived in.

The first time I would have been no older than five. I was going to the outhouse on a dark Christmas Eve. The outhouse was a couple of minutes walk from the house. On my way, I heard the bells on Santa’s sleigh. Don’t try to dissuade me, I know what I heard. I even remember the direction I had to turn to see if I could see anything. I was right quick about doing my business.

The second time would have been a couple of years later. On Christmas morning I saw the marks from Santa’s sleigh runners on the snow beside the house.  Never mind your smiles, I know what I saw.

And, a few years after that, I was with some younger friends who questioned me about the reality of Santa Claus. Now, by then I did not believe that Santa existed. But, I didn’t want to tell the “children” that. Neither did I want to lie. I don’t know how long it took me to think of a way out, but long enough (obviously) for it to remain strong in my memory. My answer was: “Well, there must be a Santa Claus. How could your parents afford all those gifts?”

In the years when I did a fair amount of house-sitting, I did so for one couple where the husband had a perfect resemblance to Santa Claus. Thus, for many a Christmas, he was the hit of local gatherings. And he had a beautiful suit and hat and – of course – a real beard.

I also know a poet whose first book was about Mrs. Claus. She is also known to dress up the part (even with a Christmas bonnet) and read at Christmas gatherings.

As for myself, one day I entered my financial institution around Christmas and got into line. As we snaked forward, I came opposite a mother and father with a young child. He looked at me and screamed (literally) “Santa Claus!” Then he burst into tears. I don’t know what troubled him (maybe I was out of uniform – or maybe he was ‘bad’).

Finally, a few years ago, (and this was not around Christmas, though it was Fall) I was walking in a park. A family approached, two parents and three children. One of the boys (and he looked five or six) dashed ahead and stood in front of me. “Santa Claus,” he said. I thought it was some sort of joke, but he turned excitedly to his siblings. “It’s Santa Clause.” He was quite happy. The father said “Maybe not.” but did not really try to dissuade him.

And neither did I.

[Image] http://www.tourmakerturkey.com/uploads/8/7/4/4/8744530/9011986_orig.jpg

A Bear Does Whatever It Wants In The Woods

bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia

One Christmas season over a decade ago, I looked after a dog whilst her owners went out of town.

Tibbit is a big, friendly dawg who likes inspecting piles of leaves. She has a long lead which her benevolent human allows to go as far as possible. She knows (better than her accompanying human) that there are treats at the end of each walk.

One Saturday I didn’t get Tibbit out until after dark. We skirted the university (where her masters work) and went up a street bordering the campus. We both liked the Christmas lights. Near the top of the street we met an inebriated gentleman, warning us of a bear in the surrounding woods.

“Flush him out,” said he, pointing at the dog, “And I’ll get my 3 aught 3.”

“Get the rifle first,” I replied.

We then went our respective ways.

Tibbit and I doubted the veracity of the gentleman, so when we came to a trail through the woods, we took it. I will admit I did peer more intently into the gloom than usual. One trail led to a larger trail, which led back to the university. We advanced without incident.

On Sunday, I again walked Tibbit toward the university, though from a different direction. It was a crisp, clear day, and she gamboled (as much as the leash allowed ) through the new fallen snow. Sunshine gleamed. This time we were on the other side of the campus, but our walk eventually led to a position about half a mile away from where we were the previous evening.

We followed another trail into the woods, and admired the sun through the fir trees. The path was wide and sloped. It came to a turn some distance away, that led us even closer to where we were the day before. At the top of the slope, Tibbit stopped dead in her tracks.

She stared and stared. 

She glanced briefly into the woods, but mainly kept staring along the trail.

I saw nothing nor heard anything (and I was intent upon both).

Tibbit did not move and made not a sound. She just kept staring. After a solid two minutes of this, I started to backtrack.

She made no complaint.

You betcha she got her dog treats.

(image) https://i.cbc.ca/1.4288335.1505334305!/fileImage/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/original_620/bears-trail-camera-nova-scotia.jpg

An Elephant Tale At Christmas For Jesus

 

creche2b1

The Elephant was not oblivious to the

Christmas season, and wanted to pay his

respects. He travelled to the special clearing

where a cloud waited for him.

“It’s your Son’s birthday and I want to congratulate him.”

“Thank you.” The cloud descended further.

“It is a grand time.”

 

“I’d like to …” the elephant hesitated.

 

“Yes.”

 

“You sent your son for us to see, so we

would believe.”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Well, I want to …”

 

“Spit it out,” said God. “You’re fired up.”

 

“I want to see you.” The elephant spoke

quickly. “I don’t have to see you, you know

that.  I believed even before you talked to

me. But I want to see you; it would mean so

much. I wasn’t around for the Baby, but

cows and sheep and things got to see Him. I

can’t explain, but …”

 

“Go home,” said the cloud.

 

“You’re not angry with me?” said the

elephant.

 

“No.” The cloud started moving away. “It’s

an honest request.”

 

“Thank you for coming to see me,” said the

elephant.

 

“Sing some carols.” The voice was distant. “I

like them.”

 

The elephant turned and started through

the woods. He ignored the tasty leaves

within easy reach, and the rich grass near

the brook. He wanted to get home as quickly

as possible, so he could join the singing at

the Mission he knew was happening later in

the evening.

 

He trotted along the trail, snapping a branch
here and there in his haste, when he noted
the stillness, the hush which had overtaken
the forest. He slowed down and then
stopped in his tracks.
He turned his head, his small eyes squinting
into the brush. There was movement
coming toward him, and when the trees
parted, he went to his knees with a gasp.
Tears rolled from his eyes, and the golden
trunk touched his own, and gently

wiped them away.
(Image) 3.bp. blogspot.com/-Cu2l0Z3a5RY/UNX-AVe2xcI/AAAAAAAABfo/xse8jdvJsLo/s1600/creche%2B1.png

Is It Santa Claus, Or Is It Me, For Christmas?

santa_chairs_003b
Although I am no fan of having the Santa Claus story take such a bite out of Christmas, I’m not against Santa Claus. In fact, we’ve had quite the relationship.

As a child, I had two ‘encounters’ with Santa. I can’t place the years, but I remember them from the houses I lived in.

The first time I would have been no older than five. I was going to the outhouse on a dark Christmas Eve. The outhouse was a couple of minutes walk from the house. On my way, I heard the bells on Santa’s sleigh. Don’t try to dissuade me, I know what I heard. I even remember the direction I had to turn to see if I could see anything. I was right quick about doing my business.

The second time would have been a couple of years later. On Christmas Day I saw the marks from Santa’s sleigh runners on the snow beside the house.  Never mind your smiles, I know what I saw.

And, a few years after that, I was with some younger friends who questioned me about the reality of Santa Claus. Now, by then I did not believe that Santa existed. But, I didn’t want to tell the “children” that. Neither did I want to lie. I don’t know how long it took me to think of a way out, but long enough (obviously) for it to remain strong in my memory. My answer was: “Well, there must be a Santa Claus. How could your parents afford all those gifts?”

In the years when I did a fair amount of house-sitting, I did so for one couple where the husband had a perfect resemblance to Santa Claus. Thus, for many a Christmas, he was the hit of local gatherings. And he had a beautiful suit and hat and – of course – a real beard.

I also know a poet whose first book was about Mrs. Claus. She is also known to dress up the part (even with a Christmas bonnet) and read at Christmas gatherings.

As for myself, one day I entered my financial institution around Christmas and got into line. As we snaked forward, I came opposite a mother and father with a young child. He looked at me and screamed (literally) “Santa Claus!” Then he burst into tears. I don’t know what troubled him (maybe I was out of uniform).

A few years ago, (and this was not around Christmas, though it was Fall) I was walking in a park. A family approached, two parents and three children. One of the boys (and he looked five or six) dashed ahead and stood in front of me. “Santa Claus,” he said. I thought it was some sort of joke, but he turned excitedly to his siblings. “It’s Santa Clause.” He was quite happy. The father said “Maybe not.” but did not really try to dissuade him. And neither did I.

Finally, a few weeks ago, as I was seated beside a very early “Visit Santa” display, an old codger, with whiskers of his own, approached, pushing a walker in front of him. He stopped and looked down at me.

“When do you take the chair?”

“What?’

“And get the red suit on?”

“What?”

“At least ya got the padding for it.”

I think it is fair to say that the twinkle was in his eye, and not mine.

(Image) https://slm-assets2.secondlife.com/assets/8867706/view_large/Santa_Chairs_003B.jpg?1386456018

Pondering Winter Beside The Christmas Display

alders-after-storm
For a mid-November day, the storm was all rain and no snow. In addition, it was very cold, so I took shelter in a Mall. I settled into a bench near the ‘Santa Claus / North Pole / Toy Workshop’ display, because that is where the benches had been moved. I have the guess, they were moved so they could be filled by kids and parents when Saint Nick made his appearance.
 
Two other fellows were already there. After the younger man (whilst looking at his phone) made a brief comment about the weather, the other man, older, grizzled and full-bearded, spoke.
This conversation is edited, not verbatim.
 
“Makes me wonder how young folk today get by.”
I look confused – which I am.
“That’s the only jobs there are for them.” He points to the fast food court.
I indicate agreement.
“Hard to get jobs.”
“Yes, it is.”
“We’re stuck here until eight.”
I again look at him quizzically.
“Me and him. The shelter closes eight in the morning, opens again eight at night.”
“Three more hours.”
“I like the little animals.”
“Pardon?”
“Along the entrance.” He points to the Santa display. “They’ve got little animals in the snow.”
“They’re real looking.”
“Yes.” He laughs. “From the old days. I lived in the woods.”
“You did?”
“Cabin with eight brothers and sisters. Had a wood stove.”
“I had a wood stove a number of years.”
“Got real hot.”
“Yes.”
“I used Alders once.”
“In the stove?”
“Yeh – bad idea. They burn like hell. Hot as hell.”
“They can be.”
“I thought the cabin would catch fire.”
“Can be dangerous,” I agreed
“That’s where i started smoking.”
“Where?”
“In the cabin. Been smoking since I was ten.”
“That’s young.”
“My pappy was a bootlegger.”
“Yes?”
“Lots of men came by to get beer.”
“I suppose.”
“They’d smoke and toss their butts. I collected them.”
“To smoke?”
“Thought I was a big man with the other kids. Smoking in front of them.”
“That’s what being young is.”
“Cigarettes got tentacles. I still can’t get rid of them.”
[image] https: /brighttreecare.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/alders-after-storm.jpg

The Elephant Welcomes The Baby Jesus

b81c513a9ca06fc7b93f4325bcad11b7
The Elephant was not oblivious to the Christmas season, and wanted to pay his respects. He travelled to the special clearing where a cloud waited for him.

“It’s your Son’s birthday, I want to congratulate him.”

“Thank you.” The cloud descended further. “It is a grand time.”

“I’d like to …” the elephant hesitated.

“Yes.”

“You sent your son for us to see, so we would believe.”

“Yes.”

“Well, I want to …”

“Spit it out,” said God. “You’re fired up.”

“I want to see you.” The elephant spoke quickly. “I don’t have to see you, you know that.  I believed even before you talked to me. But I want to see you; it would mean so much. I wasn’t around for the Baby, but cows and sheep and things got to see Him. I can’t explain, but …”

“Go home,” said the cloud.

“You’re not angry with me?” said the elephant.

“No.” The cloud started moving away. “It’s an honest request.”

“Thank you for coming to see me,” said the elephant.

“Sing some carols.” The voice was distant. “I like them.”

The elephant turned and started through the woods. He ignored the tasty leaves within easy reach and the rich grass near the brook. He wanted to get home as quickly as possible so he could join the singing at the Mission he knew was happening later in the evening.

He trotted along the trail, snapping a branch here and there in his haste, when he noted the stillness, the hush which had overtaken the forest. He slowed down and then stopped in his tracks. He turned his head, his small eyes squinting into the brush.
There was movement coming toward him, and when the trees parted, he went to his knees with a gasp. Tears rolled from his eyes, and the golden trunk touched his own, and gently wiped them away.

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