The Annual Telling of the Lies
Every year, as part of the sacred celebration of that holiest of holidays, the birth of our Lord and Savior, I lie like a rug. I just sent an email, claiming to be someone I'm not. It was to my daughter, from firstname.lastname@example.org. A couple of years ago, as Christmas approached, she was not making a name for herself on the "nice" list, if you know what I'm saying. Her room was atrocious, impenetrable, even. Finally, that year, the fat man threatened her with not leaving any gifts at all, if his elves did not report back to him that at least her floor was visible by Christmas Eve. (Yes, I have saved that letter so that she can take it to her therapist some day.)
The first Christmas lie (Santa doesn't count) was one that LG actually originated herself, and there was no way I was contradicting it. When she was a wee little high-chair sitter, her wee high-chair sat next to our breakfast room window. Out that window, she had a perfect view of the home of our neighbor, Missy Colleen, who lived around the block from us, and a corner of whose backyard joined a corner of our backyard. At the front of Missy Colleen's house stood a very tall utility pole. On that pole was (and I guess still is, though we moved a few years ago) a large, bright, street light. When toddler LG looked out that kitchen window, one dark December evening (no doubt after I'd been indoctrinating her with the Christmas story, as I did since she was about 10 months old), she pointed a plump, dimpled finger toward that light and said excitedly, "THE STAW-UH!"
I looked. I saw no staw-uh. Of course, I didn't yet know what a staw-uh was. LG was undaunted by my ignorance.
"THE STAW-UH! THE STAW-UH!"
"The . . . staw? uh?" I tried to understand, since clearly it was something quite special.
"THE STAW-UH OF BUFF-LA-HAM!"
Well, I'll be darned. She was right. There, big as life and twice as bright, was the Star of Bethlehem, curiously affixed to a pole in front of Missy Colleen's home. The Staw-uh of Buff-la-ham, indeed. The beauty of that perception is . . . Missy Colleen. If the Star of Bethlehem were going to take up residence in suburban Baltimore, there is no place more worthy of its residence than Missy Colleen's house. She LOVES her some Jesus, and will tell you so at the drop of a hat. She is in her late 70s now, and she will tell you about her younger years when she lived a rather "worldly" life. She will also tell you how once she met Jesus, in her 50s, her life began again. Missy Colleen (as she refers to herself) is in a wheelchair, from childhood polio. (Her wheels never stopped her from "getting around," back in the day.) She is beautiful, in face, in body, in spirit. A few years ago, she married a tall handsome man who attends to her in the way in which she should be attended, and who sings show tunes with her, for the entertainment of visitors, say, a "young" friend with WTF disease who drops in to ask Missy Colleen for prayer. I adore Colleen. She is an example to me of a mature Christian. She is more conservative than I, in many ways, but mostly she is trying every day to do her best to follow Christ, and to acknowledge that whatever wrong thing someone else is doing, she probably did as bad or worse, or would have if she'd thought of it, and God still loves us all.
So, I ask you, why would the Star not sit right out in front of Missy Colleen's? Well, it would, of course. LG asked me, either last year or the year before, if you can still see the Star of Bethlehem from our old kitchen window. I said I believe you can. You know, as I write this, maybe that's not a lie after all.
What lies do you tell, or were you told, in celebration of Christmas?