A Christmas Carol
by Royal Rhodes
Into late December museums sell expensive cards on heavy stock -- variations on the Christmas creche. One image done by a minor artist shows a crib oddly embedded in a dark arch with broken timber beams. The plaster is missing daubs of paint as the mural's wreck displays the ass's damaged eye and a camel's lost leg. The slumbering god in animal straw does not hear the thundering din of angels in the dance hall of heaven. And those messengers are unaware of the pain they bring to our sleep under the starlight's white-washed sky. The dazzled kings offer impractical gifts, and like them after this temporary drama we all return to our own native country. Soon we put this telling story away into the back of a seldom-used drawer, forgetting we are linked in one flesh. Here we glanced at a birth and a coming death, hidden in tiny outstretched hands, as God writes our history on each of us.