A short contemporary Christmas story
I often wonder if I would recognize Jesus if I lived in His time, or if He lived in my time. Worst yet, would I even be nice to Him? Many religious people failed this test miserably when He walked among men. This story is about Him living in our time.
Critique please. I often wonder if I would know Jesus is He were standing next to me in real life, in human form. Would I love Him or Reject Him? Many religious people fell short of this test when He walked among men. This is a short story written by me with the wish that I could meet Jesus face to face, in the flesh, right here and now. I am calling him Matt in this short story. I hope this doesn’t offend anyone , or mislead them in any way. Its based loosely on the book of Matthew in the Bible, and experiences I have witnessed first hand.
Matt’s nationality is from a 3rd world country, although he was born in the USA. A country let’s call Nins. Nins was a backwards country. Ninsians were often the brunt of many cruel jokes. Their economy was horrible. Living conditions worse. The borders were always filled with hundreds of desperate Ninsians leaving, looking for a better life somewhere else. NO ONE was coming in. It was increasingly difficult for them to even get a visa to other countries. Although they were honest, hard workers and kind, once they got out of Nins, it was very difficult to get them back home after their visas expired. Anywhere was better than Nins, especially if you were raising kids.
Although Ninsians by birth, both of Matt’s parents, Jo and Mare were noble people. They came from great and famous bloodlines. Matt’s mom often told him wonderful stories about his grandparents and great grandparents. Jo was a great parent as well, but was actually Matt’s step dad. Jo also had come from a great gene pool, and loved to recall his ancestry. They say Matt’s REAL FATHER had and even greater DNA, but it was all a mystery to Matt. He always felt closer to his DNA father; his REAL FATHER, but he loved his stepfather dearly as well! Actually Matt loved everyone and everything. He proudly told anyone who asked that he actually had 3 parents, which kind of made Mare and Jo even more proud of him. They told Matt repeatedly how much he was loved and he grew up with a large and loving family. Matt was blessed, not only because of the DNA of his REAL FATHER, but also because his parents raised him well.
Matt was the first of many brothers and sisters. A large, loving family. But as with kids, ‘imaginary friends’ are common. Matt had one too, kind of. His REAL FATHER was kind of his ‘imaginary friend’. Matt would talk to his REAL FATHER for hours. And his REAL FATHER would answer him, in a warm and fuzzy kind of way, in the pit of his stomach.. Always gentle, always kind and ALWAYS RIGHT!,, REAL FATHER always gave the right answer. Matt would sometimes stay up all night talking to REAL FATHER. Yet Matt was always refreshed, happy and set on taking the sound advice of his NOT SO ‘imaginary friend’, his REAL FATHER.
Let’s back up a little…..
Life wasn’t always happy.
Mare was young girl, barely in her teens when Jo noticed her. He never said nor did anything too forward, but everyone could tell that they were in love and would someday marry. Mare’s dad noticed his little baby girl rapidly changing, and the world around then as well. He wanted to do something extravagant for her while he was still around, and while she was still in her home. Bad things were on the horizon and he was troubled.
One day when digging through the garbage on the job, he notice a beautiful pink box that was thrown away. Inside was a slightly dirty and wrinkled PINK party dress that girls in NinS wore to celebrate their 15th birthday party. It would have cost him 30 dollars, a small fortune. He grabbed it and ran home to their one room shack wrapped in plastic and rusted tin. He gave it to Mare, sobbing with joy as he gave. Mare sobbing because she never saw her dad cry, and with joy as well as she received. Both hugging each other and crying. Knowing her 15th birthday was a long way off, they were both ecstatic just knowing that she would have a beautiful gown to wear on her 15th. Mare couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. She dreamed of her 15th birthday party that night, with Jo, Daddy and her whole family and neighbors with her…… she was so happy in her dream that she was thanking God as she slept, in her dream,,,
The next day things changed dramatically.
Nins had a coup d’etat, and the new president went on a campaign to raise a large army to squash the remnants loyal to the old president. It was extremely dangerous to be a teenager in Nins in those days, both for men and women. Pickup trucks filled with angry soldiers would stop and arrest any younger person they saw, and drag them off to the mountains to be in the thick of combat with little or no provisions nor training.
On top of that, soon afterwards, Jo started avoiding Mare. The poor young lady was really distraught. Not only were both her and Jo were in imminent threat of being drafted into a civil war, but now her love of her life wasn’t talking to her, and she had something else going on as well.
People began to talk. Rumors started flying, and Mare began to show a baby bump. Everyone blamed Jo, who was a good man. He never denied he was the father (although he wasn’t). He loved Mare and one day, when Mare was weeks from giving birth, they eloped.
It seems that both Mare and Joe were granted political asylum simultaneously to the states! They disappeared overnight it seemed. The parents of Mare and Joe were sad that they left, but everyone understood. Mare’s dad looked under the bed and was delighted to see that the pink birthday gown was gone. Also, 20 dollars from the families savings box was missing, but something even more valuable than 10 days worth of salaries was there. A beautiful note from Mare explaining why they had to go and how much she loved them. Mare’s dad was sad she didn’t take the other 40 was well! They were also happy when they heard that Mare and Jo had stopped off at the priests house under the cover of night and made their marriage vows as they hurried off to the airport. They had to do it that way. If the government found out they were leaving on political asylum status they would have been executed for treason. Most of all, Jo’s and Mare’s parents knew that their kids would have a better chance in the states.
Both families lived in the capital of Nins, called ironically, Joyville. Nins was a poor country. Joyville was an even poorer city. Both families lived and worked in the city garbage dump, which is where Mare’s dad found the dress. There was no future for this young new family in Nins. 3 dollars a day was what they both made digging through garbage all day, and the cost of living in Nins was comparable to the states. And now with with war sounds coming closer and closer by the day to Joyville, the timing was perfect.
So here is Mare, large with child, wearing a beautiful pink 15 year old birthday gown and flip flops. Joe, wearing a tank top, basketball shorts and flip flops, a (previously used) trash bag filled with all of their worldly belongings, pieces of wire twisted around both of their ring fingers and 20 dollars to their names, mounted an airplane for the first time of their lives. Oh, by the way, although Jo and Mare, and their parents spent a lot of money sending them both to English school, the English teachers themselves didn’t speak
much english. Jo could only say ‘good morning’ ‘bacon please’ and ‘thank you’ in English. Mare only knew “yes” “thank you” and ‘where is the bathroom please’. But they were happy, in love, and knew that God was with them. What more could they want?
Knowing that God was leading them made everything else seem so much easier. Joe made a pact with God not to touch Mare until she gave birth. So they boarded the plane. (oblivious to the disapproving glares of EVERYONE!) They were gingerly holding hands, and barely holding back their excitement at the prospect of spending their lives together, and starting a family in AMERICA.
The stewardess were ALL american. The Ninsian stewardesses were all illegally detained at the entrance of the airport. None of the staff spoke Ninsian. They were stuck on the runway and sounds of war were quickly approaching Joyville. Finally they got clearance to take off. They sped through the instructions to the passengers. They rolled their eyes when Joe and Mare didn’t understand them. They gruffly helped them put on their seatbelts and put their seats in an upright position. The ruffles on Mares dress and her enormous pregnant stomach made the seat belt very difficult to put on. An exasperated, red-faced stewardess with a button that said ‘smile God loves you’ roughly worked on Mare’s seat belt to get it fastened so hard that it actually bruised her stomach. Mare winced in pain but didn’t say anything.
Mare quietly prayed that the stewardesses would have a better day, they all seemed upset and flustered. The fact that there was no Ninsian translator on the flight wasn’t helping anything. Joe was just as upset and flustered with embarrassment. But he was a gentleman. Only Mare could tell that Jo was bothered. People were pointing at both of them and laughing. Her last great memory of her loving daddy was this beautiful dress. and it was being laughed at by these horrible people. She prayed to herself, “heavenly father. forgive me for being mad at them, but they are making fun if my daddy’s best present to me, and of my daddy.”
They were wearing obviously poor people clothes and flip flops in a plane filled with rich Americans and corrupt Ninsian politicians. One little girl sitting next to Mare was blond haired and blued eyed. She was adorable and was staring at Mare. The little girl smiled nervously at her so Mare smiled back. (Mare thought it was going to be her first American friend, there was only about an 8 year age difference). The little girl snarled and said ‘you stink, you smell like rotting garbage’. Mare smiled again, embarrassed because she didn’t understand and tried acting like she understood saying, “yes and thank you”. Mare didn’t fool the ‘little princess’ for one instant. The little girl plugged her nose and said exaggeratedly to make a point ‘pee-you’! International for ‘YOU STINK’! Then the little girls started screaming at Mare in blind rage, demanding that her mommy trade seats with her to get away from the ‘stinky lady’. “Pee-You’s’ mommy was praying, so Mare was relieved. She thought the mom would be nicer than her daughter because she was talking to God,,, so She thought. Mommy scowled at Mare, hissed something that Mare didn’t understand, and angrily sat besides her. As she did so, she elbowed Mare in the stomach again. Poor little Matt was really getting bounced around in there. Jo now was also begging his heavenly father to forgive him as well for disliking these horrible people.
Although Mare and Jo were mortified. they did learned two more words in English, ‘STINKY LADY’, and also a great lesson. Just because someone talks to God, they aren’t necessarily nice.
The flight was excruciating for Mare. She had to go to the bathroom (pregnant, and for getting banged up in the gut, TWICE) Neither Jo nor Mare noticed the international bathroom sign, nor understand their instructions about using the bathroom given by the stewardesses. They didn’t realize there was a toilet on the plane. They just assumed there weren’t, just like buses in Nins didn’t have toilets on them either. When they finally landed. Mare tried to rush off the plane, but the gruff stewardesses (God loves you pin) made her wait, with sadistic glee in her eye. By the time she was off the plane she could barely walk. Finally, just in the nick of time, she found a ladies room! What a relief!
Jo is probably a half foot shorter than an average american man. When Mare finally got out of the bathroom to her horror she saw zillions of people, rushing, stressed out, but no Jo. The airport corridor looked like a raging river. Raging was the operative word. Every one seemed angry and in a huge hurry. She couldn’t see him anywhere! Panic rose up! He had the trash bag AND the 20 dollars, and the instructional note given them written in horrible Ninsian. She only had Matt and God. Then her heavenly Father gently spoke to her through a velvety feeling in the pit of her stomach, that she had heard before. He said softly , ‘isn’t that enough’? She then stopped panicking, took a breath, and lost her breath at the same time. There was Jo! He waiting patiently like a giant boulder in the middle of this roaring river. Although he was small in stature, he was a bigger man than most men there.
They finally figured out where to go to enter the country after an hour of trying to ask bored people in uniforms distracted by their cell phones. Finally they figured out where to go , the instructional sheet was pretty much useless, except they figured out one word which would be ‘Immigration’.
The uninterested customs agent didn’t speak Ninese, and the flustered and expecting couple didn’t speak enough english enough (even with their added vocabulary of ‘STINKY LADY’ by ‘pee-you’ and the hissing noises made by ‘smile God loves you’ and the praying angry mom). After an hour another lethargic, disinterested person that marginally spoke their language came. Now it was 3 am USA time. Finally they got through, welcome to America! They went out of immigration, through customs! The trip was over. They were at their new home!! The instruction sheet said there would be a person waiting for them. Wong again!!!
No one was waiting for them. Must have been a mistake. They called the number they were given. No answer. they waited 6 hours, at 9 am they called again, no answer nor at 3 pm. Now they were worried. They had spent ten dollars on food and the pay phone. Joe and Mare had no idea what to do. They tried to ask people what to do. They did learn two more words, ‘SPEAK ENGLISH’. So they quietly prayed to their heavenly father. Clamoring was more like it!
Suddenly two policeman came and escorted them outside onto the street. Jo and Mare both thought, wow this clamoring to God thing really works. (now they learned two more words, NO LOITERING). They were already outside when they realized that they being locked OUT of the airport in freezing wind and being pummelled by sleet:
Actually, they weren’t led to a street, but a heavy trafficked highway, NOT pedestrian friendly. Mare nor Jo hadn’t slept in 48 hours. They were now down to about 8 dollars. They were walking about a mile on a stretch of highway, nearly freezing to death. Mare in her gown, Joe in his basketball uniform. Angry passerbyers beeped, showing them a finger (neither Mare nor Jo knew what it meant, but then they realized that they were pointing towards heaven with that, so they were grateful that some Americans believed in God and honked and pointed to heaven to remind them to pray more, which they did). It was strange that the few people that pointed to heaven with their fingers looked angry and didn’t stop to help them. The plastic bag ripped open, by the wind of the passing cars, losing half of her clothes. It started to snow, and was even colder. Mare and Jo had never experience weather under 80 degrees, so miserable and wet, and freezing, Mare began to sob. Joe would have started too, but he was a man, and men don’t cry.
Suddenly they saw a beautiful building all lit up. A sign said hotdogs 2×1 dollar and a free coke! They kind of understood what it meant and went inside. There was a kid inside with a mohawk haircut, tattooed from head to toe. Mare and Jo were both afraid of him. He looked like a monster. This skinny body pierced freak working the cash register turned out to be the first nice person they met since leaving the airport of Nins. It was warm inside. Mohawk sneezed, some metal clanged, he grappled his lower stomach and said ‘ouch’! They gave Mohawk one dollar and pointed to the sign. He said ‘plus tax’ about 5 times but they kept just giving him the dollar. Finally he just gave up and gave them the hotdogs and coke for free.
They were so happy. They wolfed down the food and drank the coke right there. They were beat, and cold, and clueless.
Mohawk, the sole cashier at this truck stop gas station figured out the desperate situation of this couple and signaled them to follow him. He took them to an abandoned camper trailer parked in the back part of the truck stop, right next to the porta potties! He opened it up for them. It had electricity, running water and a heater. Outhouse was 10 feet away! Paradise!! Mohawk and his buddies partied in there. Even had a sink that worked: They both jumped in the camper happily and both laid down on the dirty mattress, covered themselves with a dusty blanket, and fell to sleep instantly. They didn’t even shut the door. Mohawk just shook his head, leaving the lights and the electric space heater on. He gently shut the door for them and walked back to his cash register. He was also wondering what he was going to tell his boss. Everything was closed tomorrow nationwide for the holiday. Even the truck stop was going ti be closed as of midnight ( in an hour). He returned with the rest of the hot dogs (6) on the grill, a large bottle of coke and a big bag of chips and some stale donuts and quietly put them at the foot of the couple’s bed, quietly closing the door behind him, again.
Jo and Mare woke up a few hours later with Mare’s labor pains. Jo went for help. Mohawk had locked up and went home at midnight. Matt was on his way into the world. Jo had seen mothers give birth, they had running water and electricity in the camper, and clean ( but dusty) sheets and towels. Matt came into the world surprisingly fast, and Mare and Jo were surprisingly calm. After the cutting of the umbilical cord and the clean up, they fell in love with their beautiful baby boy.
So Matt was born in a sleazy camper trailer in truck stop. Mary and Jo were good honest people, in an unbelievably bad situation.
They named ‘Matt’ in their Ninsian language three names, like first middle and last name. ‘Saviour’, ‘God is with us’ with the last name ‘the anointed one’ literally translated from Ninese, because God told them to name him that. Because the DNA dad, the REAL FATHER was God the Father,,, but we’ll just call him Matt..
The three of them spent the next day alone, just figuring things out talking to their Father, thanking the REAL FATHER for Mohawk, the trailer, and for all the people they met, even the horrible ones, like PeeYou, GodLovesYouPin and AngryPrayingMom.