By G. E. Shuman
It has been many years since I first became guardian of this place, for these few weeks, at this magical time of the year. I have no idea of the number of those past years, and have failed at counting the long periods of rest and darkness in between the wonderful times of light. Those most recent eleven black months are over, again, and I have been elevated, once more, to my high position in this lofty corner of my domain. From here I look down upon my world, and seem to be master and ruler of all within my sight. In truth, my job is that of overseer.
My world certainly is beautiful from up here. The green and spreading expanses below me are filled with sparkling, colored things; collected, cherished objects hang down, leading from my feet all the way to the vast, carpet-plane below.
I accept my unspoken but obvious duties, without question, each year. As sentry and sentinel of the realm below, I am placed here to observe, to guide, to guard. I silently protect the peace of this place, and am always grateful for the great trust that has been placed in me, all these many, watchful Decembers. My supreme duty, my highest calling is to attend and enlighten the time of the great reading, and of the prayers, and of the explanation to the little ones, the truth and the cause of this time of celebration.
These past several weeks I have observed, from my high post, many and wondrous preparations. My entire world is now adorned; and more and more the glad, seasonal songs have echoed up to me from far below, somehow flowing up the ever-smaller branches, until they reach my ears. It is safe in this place, and I am warmed by the glow of both fire, and family love. I have sensed some stress in the accomplishment of the preparations, but that is usual, and to be expected. Negative feelings and actions are far outweighed by a sense of seasonal excitement, and of true joy in all that is done.
As the great day approaches, delicious food aromas waft up to me, as do chattering conversations, and the strange, unmistakable sounds of paper being cut and fitted onto boxes. These familiar scents and sounds jog memories of many other such times of preparation; memories which had somehow left my thoughts until now. I know that I have also felt this experience of remembering things from the further past, IN the past, as I feel it now. How strange, but similar, are these yearly repetitions.
It is now the evening just before the great celebration day! I must be alert! I must fulfill this, my greatest yearly task. I must watch all that is done, and listen to all that is said.
Now the sacred book is opened, and the story is read, once more, to the few within the reader’s hearing, on this late evening. It is the story of that other night so long ago. The man in the great chair below begins reading aloud to his family: “Luke 2:7-8 ‘And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night‘…” The man continues on, sharing with his loved ones the greatest true story ever told. The story is the reason for my own existence. Much more importantly, YOUR family is the reason for the story’s existence. Read it to them. It is meant for them, and they are meant to hear it.
I know that within the next several days I will be decommissioned from my post, and placed, once again, into a new time of darkness. I have no fear, as I have done my duty as a tree-top angel. I have witnessed the great truths of Christmas being proclaimed once again.