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The Greatest Christmas Story

Updated on August 31, 2018

I was thinking lately about how fond we humans are of our childhood fairy tales. We seem to have this burning desire to hang onto something noble and good and heroic and magical. And I was thinking that, like Peter Pan and Wendy, we regretfully leave them behind in our childhood as we grow up and begin to realize that there is nothing noble and good or heroic and magical. So we put them away until we have children of our own to tell the fairy tales to. We watch, with mixed feelings, the delight with which they believe in the absolute truth of the old stories like the tooth fairy and the easter bunny and, as pertains to the current season , a jolly old Elf who knows when they've been bad or good. The whole time fully knowing that later they will face the disappointment of growing up and finding out that there is not really any magic at all. Then I was thinking about the story of Him whose arrival this season is named for, and I realized that His story is every bit as full of excitement and heroism and magic as any fairy tale, and it has the added benefit of being absolutely true! It's just that usually it is told by adults, in the typical adult fashion-colorlessly and dully. So I thought, "I wonder… would anyone see the magic there if it was retold as a fairy tale? I think I'll give it a try." So, this is my fairy tale version of what is history…or rather- His story. Emmanuel-which means "God is with us".
Happy Birthday Jesus!
The Never Ending Story
A.k.a: The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away, there was a great High King. He was a mighty and majestic king, whose scepter was a lion and whose head was crowned with stars and whose footstool was Terra itself.
He was a fierce and fearsome King and in ages bygone all folk feared and revered Him, for he was not only fierce, he was good! "Good!?" You say, "what could be fearsome about a king who is good?" Well, you see, it is a terrible thing for a common man to come before a king who is all-powerful and who is fierce and good! For to have such a gaze directed on one is to know that one has never known good before that moment. It is not a pleasant experience, for with that comes the certainty that there is no one else who is good, including ones own self. And one wonders what happens to ungood things when they come before good this intense.
The High King's land was called Forevermore-Is-Re-al. But the people who lived there just called it Is-Re-al. Now, these people, had long ago become callused to this reverence for their King, for fewer and fewer of the folk dared come before the scrutiny of His great gaze, until after a time none was left who dared. Not one.
You see, they had become enamored of the princes and jesters who inhabited the kingdom next to that of the King, and it was ruled by a charming and personable dictator who didn't judge the right or wrong of things, but just let his subjects do whatever felt good to them.
Now then, this dictator and his princes and jesters had once been servants of the good High King, who, themselves had felt the piercing heat of his gaze searching their hearts. And they had cowered beneath it for fear of what He would find there.
But, rather than seeing their need for Him to make them good like Himself, they rebelled against him and formed a kingdom of their own making. One where good was only what each one saw fit in his own eyes-which, of course is no good at all.
So, one by one the Kings people wandered away, to the kingdom next door; lured by the sounds of festivities and revelries and by the glitter of gilded and bejeweled gates that they could just barely see from the windows of their homes in the walls of the Kings palace.
The few who were still loyal to the King, watched as friends, neighbors and loved ones were escorted by the emissaries of the dictator to the expansive, glittering door of Is-Re-al-Nevermore, (for that was the name the High King had given it. But everyone just called it Nevermore) and looked back to the narrow, rough and unadorned door of the High Kings palace, and they, too, felt the tug of desire. They did not know that not everything that glitters is gold; and often what truly is, appears to be rough and unimpressive to look upon.
Sometimes the few who were left, wondered amongst themselves what had become of the loved ones who had entered the gates of Nevermore. Because once the doors latched softly behind them, they were never seen again. It was assumed that their days were spent in luxury and reckless abandonment to fun and laughter the likes of which none of the few had ever known. For the sounds of revelry wafted day and night across the chasm that separated Is-Re-al from Nevermore.
But, now and then, as the few lay awake at night, they could hear, ever so faintly-so faintly that they, with the rising of the sun were not sure they had heard anything at all-a song. A song so pure and sweet and filled with such longing and sorrow that it brought tears to their eyes:
"Oh come, oh come Emmanu-el. Come ransom captive Is-Re-al…"
And the hearts of the few, as their eyes grew heavy with sleep and they began to drift on the wings of dreams, would respond:
"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanu-el shall come to thee, oh Is-Re-al!".
Meanwhile, the King, whose eyes never closed in sleep, could hear, in the vastness of his great heart, the song of his people. The song that was a really the cry of their hearts. For the High King knew (for the High King always knew) that the gates of Nevermore were not truly gold, but merely a cheap counterfeit; a paper thin veneer that covered over an immense, gaping mouth and the gates were called "Death".
The High King also knew that the sounds of revelry and pleasure were made only by the princes and jesters of Nevermore and that his people, once through the gates, were thrown into dungeons of darkness and despair, where the incense burned was the stench of decay, and the fun to be had there was at the expense of his people. And worst of all, he knew that there was no way for them to get back across the chasm. The only way out of Nevermore was by death.
But the High King would not forget his people. So he devised a plan. A plan so bold and daring that none but he could have dreamt it.
He would become one of his people! From the wailing of a newborn infant, to the stumbling steps and toddling tumbles of a two year old, to the gangling awkwardness of adolescence, to the drives and desires of adulthood-he would be one of his people! And then he would turn himself over to the emissaries of Nevermore (who were ever on the look out for those who would go with them to the gates of death) and they would not even know who he was until it was too late! They would take him there and he would ransom his people!
He revealed his plan (a plan he had had since the dawn of time) to his faithful servants, who had not deserted him for the folly of Nevermore.
They gasped in shock. "But my Lord King!" They cried. "You, yourself have said that those held captive in Nevermore have no escape! Death is the only possible outcome of life in Nevermore! It is the law! You cannot break your own law! You would then no longer be good!"
The High King only smiled sadly and said simply, "Just watch and see what I will do."
He put a hand to his mighty breast and then withdrew it and held it forth for all his servants to see.
There, nestled in his palm, lay a tiny seed, golden and perfect- a shimmering capsule of transparent gold enclosing a drop of crimson blood.
"This seeds contains all that I am, "said he. "It will be planted and it will grow and in all aspects it will be me." He placed it in the palm of his most trusted messenger.
"Guard it well, Gabriel, for it is the only hope of my people. There is no other. It is who I am."
So, the seed was planted in the womb of a virgin girl-one of the few people who remained true. It grew, and it was born, and it was the only son of the High King: One of the people in form and substance-One with the High King in essence and spirit.
And so it was, as the King had unveiled it to his beloved servants. From the wail of a newborn infant, to the stumbling steps and toddling tumbles of a two year old, to the gangling awkwardness of adolescence, to the drives and desires of adulthood-the son of the High King was one of his people.
His hands were rough and callused from a life spent working with wood; shaping it, molding it, forming it-preparing for the day that he would bridge the chasm for the people lost in Nevermore.
And he was mighty and fierce and good. For he was the very image of the High King-his father. This, the servants of the King saw, for they watched him with loving eye and cherished him from afar-this wonder, this miracle, this perfect union of High King and mankind.
But the people didn't see. They saw only one of themselves-rough and unimpressive to look upon. They did not know that not all that is gold glitters.
So, in the fullness of time, when all was ready, in the thirty-third year of the Sons life as one of the people, he turned himself over to emissaries of the kingdom of Nevermore.
The servants were jubilant. The time had come for their beloved one to set his people free. They watched with bated breath to see what the High King would do through his son.
And those of the few who saw in him the image of the High King, and who had heard the song of the captives in their dreams, cheered in anticipation of his victory. For they were sure the fierceness and might of the High King would be unleashed against the rulers of Nevermore at long last.
But now the boldness and daring of the High Kings plan was revealed in it's fullness. For as the servants had said, he would not ever break his own law, he could not. For if he did he would cease to be good. He must fulfill the word of the law: There is no escape for those in Nevermore. There is only death.
The emissaries presented this carpenter to the dictator. When he beheld the countenance before him he shrieked with delight for he had heard that a son was born to the good High King and he had been searching for him for thirty- three long years; But this! He had been looking for a fledgling king! Not a lowly carpenter! Never the less there was no mistaking the stamp of the Father! The servant- turned- dictator spat on the Son.
"Kill him. And make it slow."
So they did. They taunted him and mocked him. They placed a crown of thorns upon his head and robed him in royal purple. They paraded him through the streets of Nevermore, for all its inhabitants to make sport of. And as their final act of ridicule, they devised a death befitting his station in life. A twice flaunted mockery-the High Kings' law stated that cursed is any one hung on a tree-so they planted an upright wooden beam in the ground to stand for the tree and attached a crossbeam to stand for his carpenters trade. They nailed him there, and they waited for him to die. And they feasted and they toasted eachother and the largesse of fate that had delivered the son of the High King right into their hands.
The servants who had been watching in horror from afar and the few who loved him were aghast. What about conquering Nevermore? What about setting the captives free? Where was the fierceness and might of the great High King?
All was lost, they were certain. The plan had failed. They tore their clothes and wailed in anguish of heart.
Then, in a voice hoarse with pain, yet determined, the Son spoke, "It…is… finished." The last word was but a sigh and with it he breathed his last.
Then there was silence.
The servants and the few were still as stone; unable to believe that the only hope for the captives was truly dead.
The princes and the jesters of Nevermore, and the dictator as well froze in their toasting. For there was an eerie note of triumph in those three little words.
But triumph? How?
The sky grew dark and the ground began to shake and as Terra quaked and split in violent upheaval, the door to the palace was thrown open and split in two. And the cursed tree and its' cross beam fell with a crash.
The few screamed. The servants gasped and the inhabitants of Is-re-al Nevermore leapt to their feet in alarm. For the doors of their dungeons were also hurled to the ground. And ever so clearly could now be heard the song of the captives:
"Oh come, oh come Emmanu-el! Come ransom captive Is-Re-al!"
And in the thunder could be heard the voice of the High King responding to his people:
"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanu-el shall come to thee oh Is-re-al"
And the servants and the few looked, and the cross, with the body of the Son still nailed to it, had bridged the chasm between Forevermore Is-re-al and Is-re-al Nevermore. Here was the bridge the son had spent his life among the people readying himself for.
The law of the High King had, indeed, been fulfilled. Death was the only outcome for those lost in Nevermore. But not theirs. The High King had paid the ransom for their release. For the Son had been in essence and spirit the High King himself.
The few fell on their faces and wept. Their loved ones could go free! But oh the cost! The terrible cost! They couldn't bear it!
Set free for what? The son was dead! And with him the very heart of the High King! Lost was their only hope for reunion with The High King!
The inhabitants of Nevermore began to smile wickedly. They may lose some of their captives, but not all. Some were so used to it, they would choose to stay. But what was more, they had destroyed the very essence of the High King! He would not have the heart to stand up to them now! They had won!
They turned their baleful gazes on the few. They would destroy these lovers of the High King and his son first! They had nothing left to fear. The few had no defense!
"See! The door to the High Kings palace is in ruins! Shattered from the force of the impact of the High King fleeing, no doubt!" They shouted to one another as they bore down on the terrified few.
Suddenly a brilliant light shone forth from the broken door of the High Kings palace and a figure emerged.
It couldn't be! But it was! The Son! No longer nailed to the cursed tree, but alive and transformed! Transformed from carpenter to King and shining with the pure and holy light of the High King!
"Our Redeemer cometh!" shouted the few.
Their voices lifted in song and joined with the son and the High King his father-who was also their father now:
"Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanu-el has come to thee, oh Is-re-al!"
The rulers of Nevermore fled. The servants shouted with joy:
"The king lives! Emmanu-el lives!" cried the few as one by one the captives stepped from their dungeons, blinking in the light of the Son.

Merry Christmas to All! And may The Greatest Christmas Story Ever Told be for you and yours, The Never Ending Story!

© 2011 SheZoe


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