Pennerstories Christmas Short Story

The Search of a Modern Day Magi

Cold air rode over the wet clouds bringing about a gentle snow that fell slowly to the ground this Christmas Eve. Out on his balcony Jim celebrates his twenty-eighth birthday alone after an intense argument with his wife.  Still upset by the hurtful words spoken by both, he stares out watching the aimless paths millions of flakes take as they journey downward. Inside his thoughts his anger stirs towards the world, his family, his situation, himself, and even his faith. His wife is off to church celebrating the birth of a so called savior by candlelight while he pities himself for feeling unwanted.

“Why did I have to be born on Christmas Eve? You get all the attention and I don’t even believe you exist anymore!” Shouting at the top of his lungs throwing his empty bottle towards the vacant courtyard below. “I wish I had never lived,” he tearfully mouthed as he climbed the railing. As he paused a moment gathering courage to end his life a bright sparkle off in the distance caught his attention. For a moment he paused and backed down from the railing to focus on the mysterious light in the sky. He turned to his left and noticed a neighbor out on his balcony, “Do you see that light over there?”

The neighbor looked in the general direction Jim pointed and said he didn’t see anything.

“Come on man it’s right there, can’t you see it?”

The neighbor presumed Jim was drunk and walked back inside, “You’re crazy.”

Jim turned back around and the light in the sky grew brighter, beckoning him to come and follow. Jim’s curiosity swelled within for him to get a closer look at the light no one could see. He quickly ran down stairs, got on his mountain bike and rode off in the lights general direction.  The streets were mostly empty. The sound of fresh snow crushed beneath the tires as he rode slowly and carefully down the slippery road. Deathly quiet vacuumed ordinary noise opening ones senses. The crisp air aided in the process, nothing could escape his watchful eye. To the right a black cat jumped from a low level rooftop onto a trash barrel below only to dart down a nearby ally at the sight of Jim’s bike passing. Where the light moved, Jim followed. Up ahead a woman walked her dog. The dog began to bark as he approached.

“Excuse me Miss, do you see that light in the sky,” pointing east. As the dog continued to bark she looked.

“Umm, I’m not sure if I am looking in the right direction, I don’t see anything, only snow falling.”

“You can’t miss it. It’s radiating off of the clouds just beyond the Court House.”

“Once again, I don’t see anything. If you don’t mind I need to get back inside.”

“I’m sorry, of course,” as he peddled on down the street. “I truly must be crazy? Only a fool would go out on a night like this, in the snow, chasing a light no one else can see on his birthday.”

No matter how he tried to turn his thoughts away and go back home the light shone brighter. He now crossed Hastings Street as the light moved to a Southeasterly direction.  A few more blocks and the light stood still, high above, over a beautiful snow capped church. The pointed cross atop the bell tower glistened under the light of this mysterious star. Jim could not believe, “Why here?” The front door to the church, slightly ajar, let out a glow. The glow signaled warmth from the cold and bid Jim welcome. His heart started to tingle and his anger softened as he approached the entryway. Slowly he pushed open the door, revealing an empty church. Down at the front upon the stage a nativity scene displayed as shadows danced from the Advent candles lit close by. Jim walked up close and looked inside the manger that carried a doll representing the baby Jesus. Jim no longer saw a plastic doll, but an innocent heart warming baby. Removing his gaze from the baby, he looked up slightly and saw a cross centered behind the baptismal, and all of a sudden tears started to drip down the side of his cheek.

“How could I have been so jealous of you knowing what was to come? Knowing the sacrifice you would endure for my sake?” Kneeling down Jim bowed his head in prayer when a noise startled him. He quickly turned around and to his surprise there stood his beautiful wife. She could hardly believe her eyes as they both quietly gravitated towards one another with a tearful embrace and reconciliation.

Copyright 2010 by Robert Penner