Christmas always seems to demand so many things of us. I am more convinced with the passing of the years that these demands, which stem from a worldly view of the "season," cloud our eyes so that we cannot see Christmas. In the movie and the book, "The Little Prince," the fox gives the little prince a secret, which is; "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." So, my beloved parishioners, I wish that I possessed some magical power that could give you eyes to see with your hearts what is essential concerning Christmas. Alas, I have but a mortal pen. In my grip it feels frozen. I am like the pilot in the story. He recounts his attempt, as a six-year-old, to draw a simple picture depicting an elephant inside a boa constrictor. No one perceives what it is that he has drawn. He returns to his paper and draws another picture clearly showing an elephant inside the boa constrictor. All the grownups advise him to lay aside his drawings of boa constrictors, whether from the inside or the outside, to devote himself to sensible things like geography, history, arithmetic and grammar. The point is that the grownups wanted him to be sensible.
When I write to you about Christmas, I identify with the pilot of "The Little Prince." To speak of God entering our world in a little baby is not sensible to the world. For many people, it is like showing an elephant inside a boa constrictor. In order to capture what is invisible to nature's eye in the mystery of Christmas and to experience the true joys of this feast, we need to see what the world either does not or cannot see! We must not only perceive it as possible, but accept it as the wonder of wonders. Beneath the tinsel and bows, beyond television specials about snowmen and reindeer, Christmas comes.
We do not wish you a merry Christmas, but we wish you a Blessed Christmas. We do so in the essential truth of its real gift that reaches beyond rational men in their "sensible ways" to the gift of God's love entering our lives with the birth of a child two thousand years ago.
A Blessed Christmas to All,
An additional letter from the Chronicles will be posted each week as often as possible
One Sunday morning a young boy looked up at his grandfather who sat in the bright April sun on a park bench. Suddenly the boy asked, "Grandpa, what is the Church? What is it today?" The old man paused, cocked his head and looked at his grandson and said, "Once upon a time there was a king who lived with his people along the shore of a great sea. One day a messenger brought the king a small box. A key was inside it with an inscription upon it. The messenger told the king he must go out into the dry valley outside the city and stay all night to be able to read the inscription. The king did as the messenger said. He then read the inscription and its message, after which he returned to his city and gathered his officers around him. He told them that he knew how to sail the great sea to reach the fabled kingdom of Awria, ruled by the king above all other kings in power and wisdom. His Highness said he was going to sail on the rising of the morning sun over the seas; but before he would leave them to go upon the great journey, he would give them a golden purse. He told them not to open the purses because they contained selves. Each purse contained each officer's personal special self. The king told them to be careful and not to lose their selves. He handed each of them their golden purses. He told them again about his journey and said the next time they saw him, they were to do exactly as he told them.
The king's harbor contained only his personal ship, as he did not have a very large navy. Well upon the morning, at the rising of the sun, the king sailed out of the harbor upon his journey. All his officers and all his people saw him sail over the horizon. Even the lighthouse keeper saw from the top of Lookout Mountain the masts of the king's ship disappear over the horizon on the second day. On the third day a few of the king's officers were gathered discussing the king's journey when suddenly he appeared before them. They all rubbed their eyes in disbelief. This was impossible! They had all seen the king board his ship and sail away. Out the window, it was plain that the harbor was empty, and the lighthouse keeper on Lookout Mountain had seen the ship disappear over the horizon on the second day! The king could not possibly be with them; he was out at sea on his ship! No one could get back to shore from such a distance in a day.
The king explained that Awria wasn't really over the great sea, and that he had been granted this one time to show them himself in this way. He told them that he wanted the golden purses from each of them. Some hesitated, knowing what the purses contained, but decided to give the purses containing their special selves to the king. One officer refused to give up his special self. Then he gave out a loud cry. It seems as he made the decision not to give the king the special self in his golden purse that a dark shadow swiftly moved across the room and stole his purse right out of his hands. At the same time. The officer could only see his fellow officers and not the king. He had the impression that the king must still be there as the rest of the men seemed enraptured by something that he could not see. Yet he could not see or hear the king, and he never learned about Awria!
The other officers indeed could see the king, who was telling them that he was now going to give their purses containing their special selves back to them. He instructed them that each time they gave their purse away to someone else in the kingdom, they could see him and know that Awria was right here in their place. If they refused to give away their purses, they would no longer see him. As long as the purses with the special selves were passed on, people would see the king and discover that the land of Awria was right in their midst.
So the officers did as the king commanded them and soon many thousands had received golden purses containing the special selves and had given them away to someone else. It seems that each time a purse was given away, its owner received a newer, larger and brighter purse. But the longer a person held on to the purse, it grew smaller and smaller, until one day when the person was not looking, a dark shadow stole the purse away.
After a time fewer people gave the golden purses away and the king was seen less and less until only twelve people who had purses were left. The future visibility of the king, and understanding Awria, depended upon their decision of what to do with their purses on the special day on which they gathered to discuss what they would do with them. The day happened to be the day that everyone gathered to remember the day that their king had sailed away over the Eastern Sea."
The old man looked at his grandson and said, "The Church is like the twelve men." And while the boy looked up at his grandfather, the old man reached into his pocket a pulled out a small golden purse and handed it to his grandson.
Alleluia! He is Risen!
Love, Fr. Col+
Dearly Loved Family of St. Thomas';
The temperature has really plunged. The air outside the study window is brittle and crisp. Chilly air goes well with the season. At least it fits all the pictures of carolers with "O" shaped mouths singing in mufflers and mittens. Some of us feel a little stiffer in the joints. Some of us get tense, and worry over the long list of things we see as needing accomplishment for the "Holidays." "Merry Christmas," arouses something akin to Excedrin Headache #29 rather than sweet memories of Christmas Past, especially the one that possessed the aromas of straw upon a cave-floor; remember? The sounds of the animals were heard in the background as a young woman's brow sweated in the pain of childbirth.
I was driving home just the other day, dear family, pondering what to say to you in this letter. The C.B. radio was on, overwhelming, filled with the idle chatter of human voices wanting attention through the din of the buzz and the hum. I could feel the pressure of the rushing here and there. I re-tasted my worries of the moment as I plodded through preparations for the Coming of Christmas. I thought, "Gee, so much of the preparation for the celebration of the birth of the Son of God is mere pressure and rushing to and fro." Then I wondered what the pressures were like for the participants of the first Christmas. I smelled the straw of the manger, and the sweat of the animals huddled there against the evening chill. I saw the pain on Mary's face. I tried wandering down the corridors of Joseph's mind with my heart as he struggled the long journey to Bethlehem, only to find no place to stay that fateful night, save a small space where the innkeeper kept his livestock. I remember the anguish and helpless feelings I experienced when our two sons were born. Mary's anguished cries with each contraction shivered through my bones.
Somewhere in my mind's eye and in a corner of my heart, I heard the sudden silence followed quickly by the quick sharp burst of a baby's cry as two tiny lungs took their first breath of life. I remembered my awe at the first sight of our children and the warmth that filled my inner being. Just as quickly, I was thrown back nearly two thousand years to kneel in the straw to gaze through the eyes of Joseph at the serenity upon Mary's face. I could feel the curious crowd gather, just like they gather before nursery windows in hospitals today.
I wondered, dearly beloved, what is the difference, really, between Christmas Past and Christmas Present? A kind of magic swept over me. It was something like the magic I tasted and tried to share at Easter 1976 through the description of the grandfather who reached into his pocket to tenderly hand his grandson a little golden purse that contained a "Self."
Now, here in the study, a sound of musical lyrics fill me; singing "It came upon a midnight clear, That Glorious song of old, From angels bending near the earth To touch their harps of gold: 'Peace on the earth, good will to men, From heav'n's all gracious King'! The world in solemn stillness lay to hear the angels sing."
The Eternity, the Divine Supreme Being, the source of All comes to us now even as He came then. He came Himself as THE GIFT! The Child in the manger is THE GOLDEN PURSE OF ALL GOLDEN PURSES: As Saint Paul said, "For the Divine nature was his from the first, yet he did not think to snatch at equality with God," (not as happened in Eden, or happens to and in us each day) "but made himself nothing, assuming the nature of a slave. Bearing human likeness, revealed in human shape, he humbled himself. . .accepted even death, death on a Cross." Beloved, St. John said more simply, "THE WORD BECAME FLESH."
I may moan and groan about this and that with an occasional "Bah, Humbug!" upon my lips, but the first Christmas belies all that! Today it would not matter whether I held this office, because looking at THE CHRISTMAS I need to come and join with others in Holy Awe to behold in Great Eucharist, Christmas Present.
Now or then, the wonder, the joy, the pain and struggle are all one! Come, Let us Adore Him, even as we are.
Love in the Child
A Blessed Christmas,
My Beloved Family in Christ,
Last Easter I wrote to you about the little boy who asked his grandfather, what the Church is like; We will continue the story at the point where it appeared to end. Grandpa had just told his grandson about the kingdom of Awria and the king who mysteriously reappeared on the third day after he began his journey across the Eastern Sea. The king had given each of his officers a golden purse containing their special Self. When they gave away their golden purses, they wonderfully and mysteriously received a larger and newer golden purse. A day came when the members of the kingdom stopped giving away their golden purses that contained their Selves. In time, only twelve were left who gathered to remember the day the king had sailed away over the Eastern Sea.
We pick up the story where we left it. "The old man looked at his grandson and said, 'The Church is like the twelve men!' And while the boy looked up at his grandfather, the old man reached in his pocket and pulled out a small golden purse and handed it to his grandson."
A small tear ran down the old man's face. The boy looked up into his grandfather's face and asked, "What's wrong, Grandpa?" "Nothing is wrong, my son. Everything is right. It hurts a little to give away one's golden purse! It is painful to surrender your Special Self." The little boy saw a glow come upon his grandfather's face. In the wink of an eye, another golden purse appeared in the old man's hand. It was a little larger than the one the boy had just received, but it had a greater shine and looked newer.
Just then the little boy heard music and singing coming from the church building across the street. "It is time for us to go," the old man said, as a tear ran down into his beard. "The twelve are beginning the Great Thanksgiving!" Together, the boy and his grandfather crossed the street and entered the building. The Easter lilies were clean and white. The flickering Candles danced with their flames as the people sang joyfully about the king. The old man whispered to his grandson, "I think I see a little clearer today." The boy was puzzled because he was still so very young. A feeling that the air was full of life came over the youngster. He held tightly onto the golden purse that his grandfather had given him. Now and then he thought he saw a little dark shadow slipping here and there behind the pews. The boy knew that the golden purse was very important because his grandfather had given it to him with tears. He was not about to let such a precious gift get away from him. "That's right," said a scratchy little voice somewhere behind him. "Don't let it get away from you, hee, hee!"
The boy trembled as he sneaked a look but the shadow was gone. Two of the people present were coming up the aisle with two silver basins. The people in the pews were placing offerings into the plates. When they got to the boy and his grandfather, the old man put an envelope into the plate held in front of the boy's face. He squirmed as he had forgotten the envelope his mother had given him. Grandpa looked at P.K. and the boy hung his head in embarrassment. A tear forced itself out of the corner of his right eye. His little hand made a tighter grip upon the purse in his pocket.
The great silver basins were taken up the aisle and placed upon the great table up in front. The people sang a song of praise. Suddenly, P.K.'s face lit up with a smile. He pushed passed his grandfather and ran up the aisle to the great table where a man all dressed in white robes stood looking down into what quickly became a frightened little face. The man smiled and then P.K. nervously reached into his pocket and pulled out the small golden purse. He placed it on the great table. An immense whisper and buzzing arose from the people in the pews. P.K. looked up and before his eyes a tremendous view of a mighty kingdom grew clear behind the table and the man dressed in white robes. Behind the robed man, P.K. saw a vision of a soft and kind but mighty looking king dressed in beautifully colored robes step forward to reach down and take the golden purse containing the Self. Behind the king a chorus sang a beautiful song.
P.K. shouted, "Grandpa, I can see the King. I can see Awria!" The little boy had not noticed, but the rest of the people present were now passing him to place golden purses onto the silver plates, and the music was rising higher and higher.
When P.K. and his grandfather returned to their seats, each felt another and larger purse in their pockets. It is said, on that afternoon, P.K. gave a small friend a golden purse. People in the town still say, that was the day when the people of the little town rediscovered the Kingdom of Awria and saw the King walking the streets and through the homes of their community.
Alleluia, He is Risen!
The following Letters are the Preamble of The Chronicles
THE FIRST VISITATION
Beloved of God,
I sat in my study, wanting to find Christmas words, words to write in this letter. Nothing came. I could not find anything that was right. It was frustrating. I am supposed to have something to say every Christmas.
"What do you want to say?" said the voice in the corner.
"Something new, something old," I snapped.
"Well, You needn't get indignant about it," came the reply.
It finally hit me. I was talking with a little green character who leaned comfortably against the wall. His hands were tucked neatly behind his head. One leg dangled over the other. He kept wiggling it up and down, waiting for me to speak. Mind you. I usually do not have visions or fancies of green elfin characters, occupying space in the study. The place is cluttered enough.
"Well?" he said. A thin green finger rubbed his bulbous nose.
"Ah. . .I, that is. . ."
"Come now. Answer the question."
"Answer the question? How can I answer the question? A green elfin character, looking half like something out of a cartoon, sits in the corner of my study, and I'm supposed to answer a question? You answer one. Who are you?"
He scratched his nose once more. His gray green eyebrows crinkled, and then he said, "Gingwiggle."
"Yup. Gingwiggle. Keeper of the Door."
"The door you're trying to open, silly."
"The door to Christmas?"
"Not exactly. But for you , it will do for the moment." He pointed at a book on my desk. "Open it up. Isaiah eleven, verse six, last part of the verse. What does it say?"
I was too dumbfounded not to obey. I flipped the pages and found the place. I read aloud, "and a little child shall lead them" I looked at it again and then up at Gingwiggle. "That's it?" I asked. "For crying out loud. I know all that. I've preached on it before."
"Do you now," smiled the thin green face.
"What do you mean? 'Do you now.' Who do you think. . ."
"Easy there. Take it easy. Read it again. Who will he lead?" He was scratching his bulbous nose again. "Well, come on. Tell me."
I looked down at the passages surrounding the verse. I looked up at the amazing sight propped up in the corner. "You mean wolves, sheep, leopards, kids, calves, lions, cows and bears?"
He smiled that impish smile. "That's what it says. Doesn't it?"
"Yes," I objected. "But it must mean more than that."
"Of course, silly. Of course." His yellow eyes were twinkling with delight. He knew, he had me caught. "Tell me more," he said. "Tell me. Have you ever seen a lion eating straw? Can you see that brown old bear and the cow being friends? Look at that baby, playing over the cobra's hole. And over there. See? the dancing child. He's dancing to the music, over the viper's nest."
"Wolves don't live with sheep," I said, "They eat them. I find it hard to imagine a leopard sleeping with a kid. And the cow and bear being friends," I laughed, "Why that's for fairy tales. Now when I was young. . ."
"That's the child," exclaimed Gingwiggle. "He's also the child who marveled at His Majesty entering into a little baby, in a village long ago."
A thin knobby green finger pushed silver spectacles back up the ridge of his nose. "It's the same thing as drawing elephants inside of boa constrictors. grownups laugh at things like that. And as they laugh, they lose their joy. They become serious, like you. Suddenly they forget. They find it hard to want to love; love enough to do anything more than talk about it. They forget how to dream dreams." Gingwiggle paused. "Some are blessed. They see again. You? Well, you have me, you've had me all along. Keeper of the door. I was allowed to show myself to you today, instead of just opening the door."
I must have been staring.
"Well? Don't just sit there gaping. Write! Have a blessed Christmas and wish your parish the same. Remember what I've said, when you break the bread." He tipped his green pointed hat, and then he was gone.
I went back to writing, thinking of the child.
Dear People of God;
Once there were two teddy bears. Abandoned by young and youthful hands, they pined away in the dust of a shelf. The Pink Bear said to the white one, "Oh, if we could only recapture the days when we were new."
"Ah, yes," said the white teddy bear. "It would be so grand to feel the touch of caring hands. I enjoyed the sparkle in the children's eyes."
"Oh! Oh, I wish. I wish we could find a new life."
No sooner did Pink Bear speak, when there was a snapping sound that filled the air about the shelf. Dust puffed into the air. "Ah-choo, Aaah-choooo," came a loud sneeze to the right of White Bear. Two sets of teddy bear pupils clinked in their white buttoned eyes. Four dark centers rolled right, clink! The bears were startled by what their button eyes beheld.
He was twice their size. He sneezed once more and muttered to himself. "I always seem to get the assignments where the most dust has accumulated." He slapped twig-like thighs, just above two knobby knees. Tiny clouds of dust flew off the tight green trousers. The Limpock took off a pointed green hat; slapped it with thin bony green fingers. It was like a miniature rug beater pounding dust out of a little triangular carpet.
Some of the dust settled over the noses of Pink Bear and White Bear. "Dear me. Dear me. Must we suffer more indignity?" said White Bear. "And from an elf no less. Dear Me. Dear me."
"Indignity? My dear fuzzy friend, yours is not the only indignity. Elf I am not. Limpock! Remember that." The pointed green hat was carefully placed upon the light green head. Greenish-gray hair stuck out from beneath the hat like brush bristles. The Limpock cocked his head one way and then another. Both motions were accompanied by a small finger clearing dust out of a small pointed cup shaped ear. "So you wish new life, do you?"
The teddy bears nodded stiffly. The strange little character snapped his green fingers. Pink Bear and White Bear fell off the shelf. Down, down, down they fell. They never did strike the floor. Their fall was like drifting downward through the center of a whirlwind in slow motion. They finally came to rest in soft plastic grass at the foot of a hill. "Dear me. Dear me," exclaimed White Bear. "What happened? Where are we?"
"In the Land of the Forgotten and Neglected," said the Limpock standing next to them. A thin crescent smile was on his green face. The smile faded and was quickly replaced by a serious look. "Look up the hill, my dear fuzzy friends."
The two fuzzy teddy bears obeyed. At the top of the hill, suspended between two bamboo-like poles, was a stuffed red and white polka-dotted clown doll. His arms and legs were tied with tan twine, stretching him out so that he appeared to form an "X" with a pale white head flopping down over the center. The red clown hat and its pom-pom drooped sadly. "What is happening?" asked the bears.
"Watch!" said the Limpock.
They watched. Two tin robots, sparks sparkling flint-like under their rollers, pulled the poles in opposite directions. the Clown Doll was ripped apart. A large toy steam shovel came up from behind the hill. The jaws of its scoop tore the remains of the Polka-dot Clown from the poles. It promptly proceeded down the hill and past Pink Bear, White Bear and the Limpock.
"Oh! Oh, what is it going to do with him?"
"Watch," said the thin green twig-like figure standing beside the two fuzzy bears. They watched. The steam shovel dumped the remains into a large plastic garbage pail. A toy helicopter flew overhead, lowered clamps on a wire, sealing the pail. Four toy tanks whirred up to the pail, and took up guard positions at equal points around it.
"Why did they do that?" asked Pink Bear.
"The Computer-game ordered them, because the Polka-dot Clown suggested that all toys here in the Land of the Forgotten and Neglected, remember one another, and take care of each other." The Limpock scratched his chin as he spoke. "Many of the toys here, thought the clown would free them from the bossy Computer-game."
With that, the Limpock disappeared. The two lonely teddy bears were on their own. They wandered about the land. Every toy they met told them about the sad disappointment they felt in the Polka-dot Clown. Some time later, while walking through the land, Pink Bear and White Bear met a stuffed spotted leopard, who acted very friendly. The spotted leopard asked the two teddy bears why they were so sad.
"Haven't you heard?" said Pink Bear.
"Heard what?" asked the stuffed leopard.
"Dear me. Dear me," said White Bear. "About the Polka-dot Clown, and how the Computer-game had the toy robots tear him apart. The steam shovel threw him in the plastic garbage pail. The Computer-game is still in charge of this sad land. The tanks guard the shreds of the clown, who everyone thought would set them free."
"We are new here and we know," spoke up Pink Bear. "Are you from some place far away, that you do not know about all this?"
"Silly teddy bears," laughed the stuffed and spotted leopard. "What makes you think the Computer-game could destroy the stuff of which the Polka-dot Clown was made?" So the leopard told the two bears about the love in the red and white Polka-dot Clown. They were passing the homemade doll house; three hills away from the place where the clown was torn apart. Pink Bear and White Bear found the stuff leopard's conversation interesting. Thus, they asked him to rest with them at the doll house. They rested and talked. the leopard took out a needle and thread. He asked the two teddy bears to stitch up some of his worn spots. They happily did so for such an exciting new friend. He made them feel different than they had felt before. He also offered to stitch up their worn spots. Pink Bear said, "Oh, that would be our pleasure."
"Dear me. Dear me," said White Bear. "I feel cared for." It was when the leopard started to stitch them up, that his spots looked like polka-dots. "Dear me. Dear me," said White Bear. "You aren't a stuffed leopard at all! Why you are. . ." White Bear did not finish the sentence. The leopard vanished. They were alone in the doll house. Two teddy bears stared at each other in amazement.
A pair of young hands picked up a couple of stuffed bears off the floor. "Joey, look! Our bears. They're smiling." The two boys looked at their teddy bears, laughed, smiled and hugged their old favorites.
"Gee whiz, Andy! I would have thought they'd be dirty after all this time in the toy closet." The boys did not notice, but in the shadows of an upper shelf, a thin, white crescent smile broke across a green face."
Alleluia! He is Risen! Alleluia!
It seemed like only yesterday that the two teddy bears had been put on the shelf. Joey and Andy had laughed, smiled and hugged them. The boys were amazed, because Pink Bear and White Bear had smiles on their neglected faces. That was the time when the two bears had returned from the Land of the Forgotten and the Neglected. The Leopard, who really was the Polka-dot Clown, had stitched up the teddy bears' worn spots. They felt new and cared about.
Now it was Christmas Eve. Pink Bear and White Bear stared at the decorated tree from the top of the breakfront. "It looks like Christmas," said Pink Bear. His pupils clinked to the left, staring at White Bear.
"Dear me. Dear me, Looks like it, but doesn't feel like it," moaned white Bear. "The boys and their parents look so sad. Dear me!"
"I remember my first Christmas under the tree," whispered Pink Bear. "Joey was happy with me."
"I remember mine. It was a happy time. Christmas was young. Dear me. Dear me. What do we expect? The boys father has no money. Their mother cries so much." White Bear's eyes fogged up, making the lights on the tree appear blurred to his teddy bear eyes.
"Stop it," said Pink Bear. "You'll make me fog up my eyes, too!"
Teddy bears cannot cry like people. They do make wishes. It was White Bear who made the wish this time. He said, "I wish I understood Christmas. How can there be Christmas in such a sad house?" The snapping sound filled the air atop the breakfront. "Oh, oh! You did it again," moaned Pink Bear. "That Limpock is back!"
"Look who's complaining," growled the Limpock. "Why it is that every time one of you two stuffed excuses makes a wish, I get the assignment, I'll never know!"
"Dear me. Dear me. I still think he looks like an elf."
The Limpock crossed his twig-like legs over knobby knees. He frowned in White Bear's direction. The greenish-gray bristles of his brows stiffened. "You know that upsets him," scolded Pink Bear.
"Never mind," said the green trousered figure. He raised his bony fingers. "Let's get on with it. So! You want to understand Christmas and how it can be in a sad house. So be it!" The bony fingers snapped. The pointed green cap bobbled above his scrubby hair and balding head. Everything quivered and shook. The three figures whirled from the top of the breakfront and flew into the Christmas Tree. Around and around, down and down they swirled. Blue, green, yellow, red and orange lights flashed this way and that, until finally the two bears and the Limpock landed softly into some straw.
White Bear did not ask where they were. He could see they were up in a loft of hay inside a cave. It was a strange place. Below them, a beautiful young women held a newborn infant in her arms. A strong rustic man knelt beside the woman and the baby. There were other men entering the barn-like cave. They held staffs in their hands, the staffs curled like hooks at the top. One held a baby lamb upon his shoulders.
If button eyes could expand, the bear's eyes would have done so. The Limpock said, "Behold!" He pointed to the animals in the cave. Silver spectacles slipped down his rather long bulbous nose, as he said, "Listen!"
The two teddy bears listened. They heard the animals talking to each other. Their voices whispered excitement. Pink Bear heard the cow say, "I'll give him my milk." The dove spoke about his feathers. All the animals wanted to give something to the baby.
White Bear whispered, "What's going on?"
"Civil War. A Rebellion!" came the serious reply.
"What kind of a silly answer is that?" Pink Bear whispered rudely. "We simply have seen a baby born." White Bear nodded in agreement. "Besides, who are you to make a joke with us over the sweetness of a baby," snickered Pink Bear. "We teddy bears appreciate babies more than most."
"Be still!" came the sharp but quiet reply. "Look into the shadows. There. Beyond the flickering light of the lamps! What do your foolish button eyes see?
White Bear peered, then gulped! Back in the shadows, there were hundreds, no thousands, of gloomy figures pacing back and forth. One figure was extremely large. It had a cowled and flowing black cape. It waved its arms in obvious distraught anger. A shiver went all the way through White Bear's stuffing. "Wh-wha-what...is...that?" he gulped. "It has no fa...face."
The golden yellow eyes of the Limpock stared firmly into the white button eyes. "You mean who! He is the Dark One. In Joey's and Andy's language, the prince of this world. The Dark One is an Original of His Majesty's Court. The Dark One was good, but he went wrong. He rebelled. This cave happens to be on a planet in space which the Dark One occupies. You see my fuzzy little friends, this is enemy occupied territory."
Pink bear stuttered, "And, and, and y-you?"
I'm Gingwiggle, Lord of the Limpocks! We are the Keepers of the Doors."
"Dear me. Dear me," weakly whispered White Bear. "What doors?"
"The Heart and Mind!"
"Dear me, Dear me. Unlock my head. Please" pleaded White Bear. "Why does a baby upset that frightful looking Shadow?"
"It's not simply the birth of a baby," Gingwiggle smiled. "It's The Invasion."
"An invasion?" gasped Pink Bear.
"The Invasion." Gingwiggle shook with joy as he said, "The rightful King has landed, right smack in the heart of the Dark One's territory. The baby is a disguise of sorts. But mind you; A real baby!"
"What can a baby do? Dear me! Dear, dear me!" wailed White Bear.
"He will do much," sighed Gingwiggle. "He will call all men and creation to take part in the greatest campaign of sabotage. While your Joey and Andy are in church this night, they are really tuning in to the secret messages from our friends and His Majesty. You see? That is why the Dark One is so anxious to prevent everyone from getting involved the way the boys and their parents are. He'll pull every trick. He'll play on conceit and laziness, anything, to make the darkness seem stronger than light."
What can we do to help? We're just teddy bears!" Pink Bear smiled at the baby in the beautiful woman's arms.
Gingwiggle scratched his chin, and pushed the silver spectacles back up the ridge of his nose. He stared at them. "Just be under the Tree when the family comes home from church. Oh! And be yourselves. Teddy Bears! Warm and cuddly. It will drive the Dark One wild." With that, Gingwiggle snapped his green bony fingers. There was that same swirling blur of Christmas color and then a gentle crackle of wrapping paper. Pink Bear and White Bear landed atop of the other packages under the Christmas Tree.
They were just in time. The front door opened. Joey and Andy entered the room with their parents directly behind them. "Gee whiz, Mom! Did you put Pinkie and Whitey under the tree?"
"No! I didn't!" she gasped. "How on earth?"
The two teenage boys were smiling at their oldest childhood friends. Their father scratched his chin and smiled a thin smile. Whitey sent a secret teddy bear message to Pinkie. "I think Christmas is here!"