Friday, December 25, 2015

An Extra Special Christmas


            The Murphy Brothers were seldom in funds, and could not afford to buy gifts.   They just did the best that they could.

            One year  Joey had managed to scrape together some change  and buy a beer-mug for his brother.   But since it was only a single mug and not a pair, the present proved impractical, and Murphy left it in the box:  until the following Christmas, having nothing else to give, he rewrapped it, and gave it to Joey, placing it under the lone coleus that served them as a tree.
            In this manner the relic passed from one brother to the other, and then from the other brother back, down the years, on each Christmas day:  as the brothers grew slowly older, and the coleus grew dim, and went at last to its reward.   And in time, that practice lapsed,  and the object was put away on a high shelf, until such time as the mug might someday somehow find its mate.

            And then one Christmas,  it snowed and it snowed.
            It was cold in their office-apartment, since the heat had been shut off.  And so they went out to the city streets to gather kindling, though fireplace they had none.  For it was the birthday of the baby Jesus, and it was meet, that they should gather wood.  And yet they found no twig nor stick of it. 
            And so they went sorrowing home.
            Yet were astonished, as they opened the door, to be rocked back on their heels by a summer breeze, which blew out from a roomful of snow.
            And there amidmost, stood a towering spruce.   Beneath it, three presents, wrapped in red:  and the fruit of this tree was permitted to them.


            They sat awhile together, and discussed these strange developments.   Where could all this have come from?   Neither of them knew.
            They wondered what might be in the packages.  At length they decided they would have to find out.  Joey motioned for Murphy to begin.
            And so, curiosity overcoming him, Murphy untied the ribbon, and carefully unfolded the paper, and lifted the lid of the box.  Then both brothers leaned forward, and wondering, looked in.

            It was the Gift of Poverty.

            Then both brothers rejoiced, amazed, and embraced.  For this was a wondrous gift indeed:  formerly, they had merely been poor.

            With keen anticipation, Murphy unwrapped the second present.

            It was the Gift of Chastity.

            The brothers sighed, and crossed themselves.   “Thanks be to God,”  they said.  For the solace of connubial bliss had always been denied them, owing to their detective vows;  yet now, their very abstention, might be a sacrament.

 Then gazed together at the final package,  neither one daring to move.
            But yet at last   with terrible trembling fingers,   almost sobbing with expectancy:   as when the bridegroom, as yet untried,  on the wedding night, fumbles at the bodice of his spotless bride, -- managed somehow to unloose the wrapping  (even as the maiden, on that sweet night, bids farewell to her maidenhead, and unloosens her chestnut hair):   and there lay--

            The Gift of Obedience.

            This gift had quite eluded them,  back in reform-school days.  Since that time, the Murphy brothers had always been resigned to their lot in life; but now they did embrace it, as the very will of God.
             “We should drink to this!” cried Murphy, indicating (and just noticing) a vat of ale;  and went to the high shelf, to bring the old package down. 
            And took out -- lo! -- twin goblets of crystal,  and filled them  each  to the brim.
            “This is the best Christmas ever,”  Joey said.

[Notice:  A hymn appropriate to this offering, may be witnessed here:

~
For further Murphy mystical mystery
-- a story that will haunt your dreams:
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Further parables from this pen, may be savored here
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