When ole Deity was little, he absolutely loved Christmas. He would lay under the tree in the living room and just stare up through all the twinkly lights, the shiny ornaments and the velvet green pine needles all night long. He loved the Christmas songs that came out of this electronic sound box his parents had bought that synced the twinkle of the lights to sharp-pitched tones. He loved how this was the only room in the entire house he could lay and feel alone, but not in solitude. He loved that not far away he could hear the plates and glasses from dinner being cleaned and put into the dishwasher, and even further in the distance, the blurry vocal static of the television that his dad was watching. Not even his lovable orange tomcat came and broke his sanctuary. Hours and hours were spent underneath that tree, all in anticipation for the morning of Christmas day.
might think that the little boy was excited about the presents that he
would be opening once Christmas arrived, but that was not what was going
through his head. Every year, before the presents were opened, his
family held a little ceremony where the little baby Jesus figurine was
put into the handmade Nativity scene that sprawled all over the coffee
table. Nothing could happen before this took place - no presents, no hot
cocoa, no cinnamon rolls, no carols - NOTHING. The honor of placing the
baby Jesus into the manger had always fallen to the little boy, and he
considered it magical - he was the one who started Christmas.
year, a few days before Christmas, the little boy's mother informed him
that they were having to make a slight change to the way things worked
on Christmas morning. She told him that his older sister had asked if
she could place the baby Jesus in the manger this year, and his mother
thought that it made sense to share the duties. The little boy didn't
think it made sense at all. He erupted, screaming, hollering and tossing
about the entire room. This response took his mother by complete
surprise, and she saw that she needed to come up with a solution quickly.
She told the little boy that he could carry the candle into the room
that was used to light all the other candles around the manger - something his
mother told him also needed to happen in order for Christmas to start.
Until now, that role had been one of his parents, an adult role, and she
thought he was a big enough boy to handle that important
responsibility. The boy quieted down and accepted the role, but only
after his mother told him that next year he'd get to be the one to place
the baby Jesus (they'd alternate years).
So, on that
morning, he stood in the hallway with his sister. He watched as she
opened her hands, and his mother placed the beautiful figurine in her
out-stretched palms. He then watched as she bent down and carefully lit
the white candle he gripped tightly. His sister turned and began walking
into the living room, and he followed, making sure to step carefully so
that the flame didn't get blown away by his movement. He kept one eye
on the bright fiery light and one on his sister as she stopped in front
of the manger. And just as she bent down to gingerly place the porcelain
child into his cradle...
...the little boy lifted the candle to the back of her head, and lit her hair on fire.