Column: The Christmas Story, as told by a child
WORTHINGTON — We don’t often ask little kids to recite lines from Shakespeare. So it is we don’t hear a 4-year-old Prince of Denmark wondering whether it is “a bee or not a bee,” whether “to see or not to see,” whether it is “for me or not for me.”
We do, however, ask 4-year-old boys and 5-year-old girls to review The Christmas Story for us in the English of Shakespeare’s time (Holy Bible, King James Version).
There once was a little girl who made a heartfelt prayer, just as she believed she had been taught: “… lead a snot into temptation…”
It is exactly what every dumb snot deserves.
Let this be a prelude for The Christmas Story as interpreted by little people.
Let your mind go to a place of candle light and of fidgeting, the place where once you enjoyed hearing The Christmas Story most of all. See the kids now, all in a row, all decked out in new shoes, new skirts, new shirts. There is a spotlight on them. See the little boy in the new blue fleece nudge the boy next to him. See the little girl chewing on a strand of her hair.
Listen to their story. Listen as they recite the pieces they have worked at memorizing since the first week in December. One child told it with these words one year, another child told it with these words another year —
“It came too fast in those days …” (Christmas always comes too fast.)
“… there went out a degree from she’s your Augustus…
“that all the words should be taxed …” (and you think taxes are bad today.) “This taxing was first made when Irene was governor of Cereal …
“All went to be taxes, every one to his own city.”
“Joseph went up from Golly Lee, out of the city of Nazaress, to Judaea, to the city of David-called-Bethlem; because he was of the house and spinach of David …
“To be taxes with Mary his ex-house wife, being great with a child. So it was while they were there the days were some leashed that she should be delivered.
“She bought for her just-born son and wrapped him in swaddle clothes and laid him in the main gee. There was no room for them in the inn.
“There were in the same county shepherds riding in the fields, keeping watch over their blocks by night. Lo, the angel of the Lord, came on them, and the glory of the Lord shone around and about them and they were sore and afraid.
“The angel said also them, fear not. Be hope I bring you good times of great joy to be to all people. “For until you is born this day, the city of David, the Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
“And this shall be the sign for you. You shall find the baby wrapped in modeling clothes, lying in a manager.
“And Sunday there was with the angel a multi-tooth of the heaven host.
“Praise God. Singing, ‘Glory to God, the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
“It came to pass, as the angel went gone away from them, and to heaven, the shepherds said one another, ‘Let us now go evening until Bethlehem, and see this thing.
“Which is come to pass. Which the Lord has make now to us.
“And they came with paste. They found Mary and Joseph and the baby sighing in the manger.
“And when they had seen it they made now a board the saying which was told them concern this child.
“And also they all heard it wonderful, those things sandwich were told them by the shepherds.
“Mary kept all the things and pondered them. In her heart.”
The words are not quite right, of course. But you can follow what they are saying. (If you wonder how it really should be said, you can find the right words in the right order in the second chapter of the Gospel according to St. Luke.)
Merry Christmas to you, good reader. God bless you every one.