This year, once again, the Lord cut down a Christmas tree for us with His own hand. It’s the tipmost top of a splendid mugo pine from across the street, which blew down in last week’s big wind.
In my family we traditionally refer to the day before Christmas Eve as Christmas Adam. Similarly, Boxing day is Christmas Cain (or sometimes Christmas Candy Cane) and the day after is Christmas Abel, and so on.
On a terrifically windy day last August, I watched the trees rock and bounce as if shaken by giant hands.
“You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
A manger is a feed trough for animals. The word is related to the French manger, to eat. If you were to attend a French-speaking eucharistic service, as the priest or minister placed the morsel of bread in your hands he would say, “Prenez, mangez.” Take, eat.
The name Bethlehem means House of Bread.
What, you may wonder, is the meaning of this outlandish title? Thirteen years ago my friend Chris Walton (pictured with antlers) spoke this word to me in the parking lot of Ricky’s All Day Grill, and we burst into gales of laughter. Find out why in this story, a selection from my new book published this week, Twenty-One Candles: Stories for Christmas.
(Incidentally, most of the stories in this book are fiction, but this one is true.)
Here’s a live reading of The Three Fools by Mike Mason, as performed by Ron Reed of Pacific Theatre, Vancouver, at their annual Christmas Presence show. This is one of the pieces in Mike’s new book Twenty-one Candles: Stories for Christmas. Available from Alphabet Imprints and other booksellers.
I’m leafing through a file of old Christmas stories with a view to gathering them into a collection. For three decades I’ve written a new Christmas story every year to give out to friends as a greeting card. A tradition that pre-dates the internet, it’s been one way to get instantly published. We also host an annual party on Christmas Adam (if you’re not familiar with that term, read “Yabba-ka-doodles!”) at which I read my latest story aloud. So I’ve not only had my own publishing house but a radio station as well.