Friday, November 28, 2008

Lessons from History


I am not a historian by training, so please forgive me for any errors in what I say, and feel free to correct me.

It was the day after the fourth Thursday in the month of November 1AD (or was it 0AD? Also you might want to make that 12 days before the fourth Thursday of the month of November 1AD if you are on the Old Calendar). A group of magi(not the ones from the Gospel, mind you), having eaten too much turkey the night before, embarked on a great quest. You see, they had been doing a little astronomical (not astrological because as Virgos, they were skeptical of the whole astrology thing), and they noticed that God would be born of a virgin in the city of Bethlehem in just a few weeks. This left them with precious little shopping days until Christmas. Now if they had taken their heads out of their science books, they might have noticed all the Christmas Trees, wreaths, and garlands hanging all around the local bazaar, or heard the incessant beat of the little drummer boy and the relentlessly upbeat sounds of Frosty the Snowman and gotten shopping weeks earlier.

But as it turns out, they were lucky not to have started shopping earlier, because this Friday morning in November just after the turn of the century, there were deals to be had in abundance. So they made up a little shopping list for the celebration of the birth of God incarnate. Obviously, they would need to purchase some Gold as it is the safest investment in troubled economic times, and since Herod was not very good with fiscal policy (after all, even the hotel industry was in the crapper) it was important to start of the Christ with a sound investment portfolio based on a stable commodity. For a second gift, these wise men settled on frankincense. Of course none of them knew what frankincense was, but advertisements for it were all over the bazaars, had been branded on the side of horses and camels for months, and the news reports all said that it would be the most coveted gift of the holiday season. For their third gift, these kings (they weren't really kings, but they felt pretty proud of themselves for having picked out some rockin' presents for Jesus, and thought of themselves as real kings among men) chose a nice jar of Myrrh. Again, they weren't entirely sure about Myrrh, but it was on sale for 50% off, and came with 32 GB of storage, upgradeable to 64GB, so it seemed like a good deal. As a stocking stuffer, they chose a Spongebob Squarepants yoyo and some Hershey's Kisses.

So they headed down to the bazaarmart frightfully early in the morning. They were still dressed in their pajamas with a cup of starbucks (yes, they had starbucks even back then, and it was the favorite brand of astronomers) keeping their hands warm and their minds alert. Naturally there was a very long line to get into the bazaarmart, though none of them knew anything about the miraculous birth in Bethlehem. The people were getting anxious waiting for the tents to open up for business, and when they finally did, there was such a rush to begin shopping that several people were trampled, and scuffles broke out throught the bazaarmart, resulting in the injury of hundreds of people, and the death of at least one person. But these were harder times, and nobody expected otherwise.

The gold, as it turns out was not on sale. What had been advertised was actually a gold plated nugget of plastic, and to get the real gold, they had to shell out substantially more than they had planned. The frankincense was in short supply, and one of the magi had to break a woman's nose to get her to let go of it. The Myrrh was the best deal, but you had to subscribe to Myrrhbearer's Magazine to get the sale price. And don't get me started on how much that subscription costs once the trial period ends. Sadly, the magi responsible for procuring the Spongebob yoyo and the Hershey's Kisses was never seen or heard from again. But these are the risks one takes.

In all, the Magi saved a total of $300 on their shopping trip, although they put the purchases on a credit card and ended up paying more than that in interest by the time it was paid off.

With gifts in hand, the Magi set out for Bethlehem. As they drew near to the cave where the star was leading them, they noticed a group of shepherds(not the shepherds from the Gospel, mind you) hanging out having an office Christmas party. They had all had a little too much to drink, and when they saw the Magi approaching, they taunted them for having only gotten the 32GB jar of Myrrh, and pointed out that perhaps clothes would be better for a baby that was soon to be out of swaddling. The Magi thought that the shepherds were pretty rude, but they recognized that heavy drinking and rude jokes were such a big part of how we celebrate Christmas, and so they cut them a break.

Pulling up to the manger, they dismounted from their shiny new camels(and yes, new camels are shiny, plus they have that really great new camel smell) that they had recently acquired because they were on sale for the close of the model year (and with financing so low, why would you want to keep riding that old worn down camel?). They presented these gifts to the newborn baby.

And the God who took flesh, thus sanctifying all flesh, who would teach us to love one another, who would die on the cross, and would trample down death, who ascended to heaven taking our human nature with us, was the first and last child to ever be completely satisfied with the Christmas gifts that he got. He was the first and last child to not ask if they still had the receipts so that he could return them and get what He really wanted. He was the first and last child to not sulk and pout because he really wanted something else.

2 comments:

Christopher D. Hall said...

This is too funny. Brilliant stuff!

Yamin said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

Lucy

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