Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Night Before Xmas, Scene 2: The Visitor

“That was fun,” said Stevie as the carolers wandered away. “I like Christmas songs.” They flopped back down in their places.

“Why do people go caroling?”

Lori shrugged. “I don’t know, Becky. I guess they don’t have anything better to do.”

“Maybe their TV’s are broken,” wondered Stevie.

Just then, there was a loud crash on the side of the house near the back door. Becky looked over the back of the couch out a side window. “What was that?”

Lori stood and walked across to the window. “I don’t know. It sounded like someone fell. Yeah, look. There’s an old man out there. He fell on the ice by the side door. I’d better go check on him.”

“Mom said we’re to stay in the house and not let anyone in.” Stevie was shocked she would even consider such a thing.

Lori waved at him dismissively. “He looks like he might be hurt. I can’t let him just lie there. It’s near zero out there tonight. He’s an old man; I don’t think he’s too dangerous. You two stay here and watch. If anything happens, dial 911.”

“What’s the number for that?” asked Stevie. Lori withered him with a derisive stare.

Becky was nervous as she peered over the back of the couch. Stevie, next to her, pointed, and exclaimed in shock, “Look, she’s bringing him in here.”

The old man entered the living room right behind Lori. He was brushing snow off himself, and limping slightly. Tall and portly, he was dressed in shabby clothing.

Lori led him to the recliner across the room. “Are you all right, mister? Why don’t you have a seat?”

As he sat, he spoke in a deep, bass voice. “I think I will be fine, young lady. Thank you so much for your kindness, and for this respite from the cold. This house is very warm tonight. Thank you again.”

It began to hit Lori that she had invited a strange man into their living room, something she knew she should not have done. The man inspired a strange sense of confidence, but her parents would not consider that justification for what she had done. She had to do something. “I don’t want to be rude, but my parents could be home anytime, and they wouldn’t like it much if they found you here. As soon as you are feeling better, you’d better be on your way.”

Leaning forward in the chair, he looked at each of them, and said, “But, young lady, this is my way.”

“What do you mean?” asked Lori.

“When I fell, I was on my way here; I was coming to see you.”

“Us?” wondered Stevie.

“Do we know you?” Becky added.

Stevie thought for a minute. Maybe there was an explanation. He crossed the room and stood in front of the old man. “Are you my great-grandpa or something?”

“No, no. Nothing like that. We have never met before and we are not related. But I was sent here on a mission. I was sent to tell you a story.” Disappointed, Stevie sat on the floor next to the old man’s chair.

Lori looked up at him. “A story?”

“Yes, my dear. I came here tonight to tell you the greatest story you have ever heard, and to answer your questions.”

“What questions?”

“A few moments ago, Stevie asked a question.”

Stevie’s head whipped around to look at their guest. “How do you know my name?”

“Stevie, you asked what Christmas is all about. That’s why I’m here. I’ve come to tell you.”

“Tell us what?” Poor little Becky was so confused.

“What Christmas is about.”

Stevie was not satisfied with the answer he had received. “How do you know about my question?” Then, suddenly it was clear to him. A suspicion formed in his mind. Yes! It had to be. “Are you Santa?”

The visitor laughed. “Well, in a way, I guess.” Now, each child’s face displayed confusion. “The Santa you talk about is an old man who goes about on Christmas and gives presents. And here I am, an old man who has come to give you a great gift.”

Now he was talking Lori’s language. “A present? Cool! Is it expensive?”

He nodded. “Of course it is, my dear; more expensive than you could possibly imagine.”

She lit up as she leaned in toward him. “Is it that iPhone I’ve been asking for?”

“No, no,” he said. It is nothing like that. It is even more valuable.”
Stevie jumped back in, the prospect of a great gift replacing his suspicion and curiosity. “Will you just tell us what it is? Can’t you just give it to us now?”

“I would be glad to, Stevie. I am here to give you the greatest present you have received.

That meant only one thing to Becky. “A Wii?” She stood and began to make slashing movements as if locked in some virtual battle.

Again, he shook his head. “No, I have a better gift even than that. I am here to give you Christmas.”

Becky was a little peeved. “We already know its Christmas. Duh.”
“That may be, Becky. But you have no idea what Christmas is. I want to give you the real Christmas, not this cheap imitation you have always known. You celebrate Santa and Rudolph and lights and presents. I want to open your minds to a whole new world, the real world. I want to give you Christmas, glorious Christmas.

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven and nature sing,
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

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