A modern-day Christmas tale

Posted Dec. 10, 2010, at 10:15 p.m.

’Twas a dite before Christmas, and all through the land,

The bad little children were way out of hand,

Mortgage debtors were hung out to dry without care,

And stocks were inflated, 401’s to ensnare,

Politicians were nestled all snug in their beds,

While lobbyist dollar-signs danced in their heads.

And Ma with the remote, and I, and the cat,

Had just addled our brains with more TV claptrap,

When up on the roof there arose such loud chatter,

I arose from my bed to eavesdrop on the matter.

Away to my roof-cam I flew like a flash,

Tore open my laptop, and fired up the cache,

The Wi-Fi emitted its soft, moon-like glow,

(Though global warming had ended the chances of snow),

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a fat little man arguing with his reindeer!

“There’s no-one deserving,” the fat man did say,

“There’s no point in running around in this sleigh.

Saint Nick shouldn’t follow where Old Nick has been,

Rewarding with presents those hip-deep in sin.”

His eyes how they blazed up, his anger was hairy,

His face turned quite purple, his nose like a cherry,

At Rudolph he pointed a loaded crossbow,

And the look on his face said, “Let’s just end this show!

Since I gave up smoking I’ve noticed this grief,

This pain can’t be covered by some Christmas wreath,

The poor just grow poorer, I don’t have the belly,

To stomach the horrors we see on the telly.”

As I shut off the laptop and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed in faux-fur, a conservationist elf,

And I sympathized greatly, in spite of myself,

A whole bunch of stuff he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a Walmart just opening his sack.

The tear in his eye, and the twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know there was much yet to dread,

For suddenly he was a ghost out of Scrooge,

Saying, “I’m not here to paint the world’s wounds up with rouge!”

“Oh Santa,” I cried, “this can’t be the answer!

What about Rudolph, and Dancer, and Prancer?”

“A nice thought,” the ghost said, “but that was pretend,

The world’s in big trouble, and nearing its end,

I’m not here to frighten, I’m here as a friend:

Consider the death and destruction in Haiti,

Consider the health of Americans weighty

From junk food and sodas and pollution diseases,

The greed of the wealthy, doing what pleases

Themselves and them only, while others go begging,

And politicos crumble from lobbyists egging

Them onto supporting the corporate agenda,

While the black man and brown man can’t even defend a

Job or a home from the third world incursions,

Our factories shipped off to some offshore diversions;

And then there are wars in various places,

Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, while the faces

Of suffering are there in uncountable numbers,

Satan’s own war machine ’round the world lumbers

To kill and to maim while reporters imbedded,

Don’t publish the truth, since they are indebted

To the companies who profit by war’s great decree —

You’ve got to kill now if you want to be free!”

“Oh, Santa, I hear you but what can I do,

I buy food for the table, then the mortgage comes due,

Putting oil in the tank is the next thing that’s pending,

I don’t see my story having some happy ending.”

“I understand your dilemma, and that, too, is my problem,

Old Santa’s become a commercial hob-goblin,

A tool of the market to make you go spending,

So my story, as well, has no happy ending.”

“But as the Spirit of Christmas, I can bring you the truth!

Christmas is not about deer on the roof,

The night is for Jesus, as he lies in the manger,

The shepherds and angels all greet the young savior,

With songs filled with wonder, and hope, and true love,

The love that’s eternal, God’s grace, like a dove,

Announced Jesus to Mary, the mystery enfolded,

And the promise fulfilled so that we might behold it.”

“I’m not worthy,” I stated, “of this Christmas present!”

“Of course, not,” said Santa, “but that does not end it!

The Lord comes to save us, unworthy and all,

The height of God’s love now does not count how tall,

Or small is your stature, your prestige, or standing,

He asks for your love — is that so demanding,

From a God who would send his pure child to a cross?

Just kneel here and pray now, you’ll no longer feel lost,

And Santa will join you, as we kneel by the manger,

Jesus loves us both dearly, he welcomes the stranger.”

And in this very gesture the healing took place,

For in this newborn child I was seeing God’s face,

Hold this moment forever, press it close to your heart,

And from Christmas — true Christmas — you never will part!

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