Melchior’s Monologue

Today is Christmas Eve, and my heart is full of thanks and joy. We spent the evening at church, delivering cookies to friends and neighbors, and watching a Christmas movie. We opened one round of presents, and now we’re waiting to celebrate the Birthday of our King.

Most people get their last chance to play a part in a Christmas pageant when they’re in grade school. By the time you’re in sixth grade, you’ve hung up your shepherd and wise man costumes for good. This year our church offered monologue opportunities to a select few, and I snapped up the chance. “I’d love to be a wise guy,” I e-mailed rapidly. “I wouldn’t mind being Joseph or Simeon, and in a pinch, I’d take Herod.”

They let me be a wise man, and gave me 4 minutes in both the Christmas Eve services. I dressed up in a robe, with a piece of golden cloth from our friend Tina as a rich accessory, and borrowed leather sandals (I couldn’t find mine). I decided to forgo the turban, since it seemed to require a 30′ long piece of cloth, and a lot of patience in assembling. One of our elders did a first-person monologue as Herod, and another talked to us about Mary. One of our pastors told us about the lessons Joseph’s life taught, and our senior pastor focused on Jesus himself (senior pastors are sometimes greedy that way).

Here is my monologue — I offer it up to my Lord as a birthday present:

Salaam aleikum. I am Melchior, one of the Magi who came from the east to worship the new Jewish king.

My colleagues and I spend our lives in the study of the skies. Over the years, we’ve developed many elaborate theories about the meanings of these stars and planets, and the times of their appearance … truth is, I’ve never been very sure about many of our conclusions.

One thing we all could see plainly: this new star was in the part of the sky that indicated a major event in the House of Jacob, among the Jewish people who lived northeast of Egypt, near the Western Sea.

We argued about it for a long time, my companions and I, but we finally agreed that the appearance of this new star must indicate the birth of a king. One of us suggested a wild plan: we could send a delegation to find and meet this new king.

I knew immediately that I had to be one of those who were sent. We planned our journey and selected gifts that we could bring, items of value that would help to make us welcome in foreign lands. One selected gold (always a good choice) and another frankincense (preferred by royalty). I had some difficulty deciding what to give to a Jewish king, but I settled upon high quality myrrh, a valuable resin made from the sap of a thorny tree in our region. I’ll admit it was an odd and somewhat sinister gift for a new king, most often used in burial rituals.

We set off in a caravan, following the star whenever we could see it, heading west toward the Trans-Jordan area. Arriving at last in Jerusalem, we discreetly asked about the new king, but soon came to the attention of Herod, the brutal, half-breed Jewish king appointed by the Romans to rule over that area.

I must say, I was worried. Here we were, far from home, with a minimal escort, telling an uneasy ruler about a potential threat to his throne. He seemed unaware of any new prince, and our hearts sank. Had we come all this way for nothing?

When Herod summoned the priests, our hope was renewed. Their scriptures indicated that the king would be born in a small village just south of Jerusalem. Herod sent us on our way, with apparent good will, encouraging us to search diligently for the child and to tell him all about this new king, “so he too could come and worship him”.

I’ve got to say, I never believed him. Sure, a king has his dignity, and he’d look foolish searching the countryside on a rumor … but I couldn’t help thinking that the only ‘worship’ this new king would receive from Herod would be at the tip of a spear.

As we approached the village of Bethlehem, the star was once again revealed, and it moved so that it stood over a particular house. Not a palace, just a simple house, with a peasant family living inside. There was a work table and a few tools, a man, a woman … and a little boy child, toddling about.

I could hardly believe my eyes; was this the king that we’d come so far to find? But the star we’d seen and followed had moved, and clearly indicated this house … so this must be Him. I felt a certainty, welling up in my heart, an ability to believe that had never gripped me before: this was the king, and more than a king, foretold by the star.

We prostrated ourselves as though the child was the Roman emperor, and offered our gifts to the boy and his parents. As they told us the story of his birth, the things that had been told them by angels, and what the shepherds saw and heard, I came to understand that this was no earthly king. Rather, in the body of this little boy-child, God … had come to live among us.

The night before we had planned to leave, we each had a dream, sent by God. He told us not to trust Herod’s intentions toward the child, and to go home another way, not by passing through Jerusalem. We felt very honored and overwhelmed by God’s kindness to us, showing us a small part of His plan and confirming that this child really was sent by Him. We made our way home, filled with joy and wonder.

In these ten years since we visited Bethlehem, I’ve often wondered about that boy, as he grows up, thinking about what he will do. I still watch the skies for further signs, and I eagerly question travelers from that area. Back home, our story was met with skepticism by those who didn’t journey with us, but I believe that God has come among us, and is working out His plan among the Jewish people. I was there, and I believe.

Merry Christmas!

Share or follow

Related posts:

Snowed In

The snow has been falling and there promises to be more on Sunday. I guess we’re not technically snowed in as Tim took Joshua to a birthday party this evening and then went to the grocery store for me on his way home.

Sarah loves the snow


Ah, the joys of modern living. A grocery store around the corner and electricity. There is nothing quite like a little snow storm – slippery roads, cold wind blowing, and the promise of more snow – to make me thoroughly appreciate the conveniences of the 21st century. I can’t imagine how the early pioneers survived the hard winters.

I guess many of them didn’t. It certainly puts my grumbling about the cold into perspective.

here we go

we're heading down!

Eat snow, baby!

Rachel and David are not afraid to eat some snow.

Meanwhile, the children are in absolute snow heaven! Daniel and David have already planned their Saturday morning activities – basically get out in the snow as soon as possible. Tim and I often sleep in on Saturdays (even 8:30 or 9 am is luxurious when you are a busy parent). The children usually get up and watch a movie, being very careful not to disturb their night owl parents.

This evening Daniel came to me and asked if he and David could go outside when they woke up in the morning. You would have thought I had granted them a special prize the way the boys chortled and cheered at my casual nod. They ran off to gather boots, snow pants, and gloves and lay them in the living room.

“Just to be ready, Mom!”

I think they would have slept in their snow gear if I had let them. Ah to be young and unafraid of the cold.

Let's FIGHT!

Joshua finished his school work early yesterday and started a snowball fight.

snow ball or shovel?

Who needs snowballs when you can grab a shovel?

take this!

Daniel aims right for Joshua’s head.

Brrrr, I am a summer, warm weather girl. Give me weeks on end of hot sunshine and lazy days at the lake, pool, or ocean. It’s a little chilly to head to the pool now.

Of course, I’m tickled that the kids enjoy the snow so much. We certainly don’t get much of it in Western Washington. We keep our snow on the mountains where it belongs, and usually have more rain than snow. This snow storm has been an unexpected treat, especially so close to Christmas.

we need a bigger snow fort

“Do you think Joshua can find us behind this snow fort?”

This evening Tim and I walked over to a friend’s house. The street was quiet, the sky lit with reflected snow and the city lights. It was gorgeous. We held hands and tried to walk and not slide our way down the road.

At such moments you can only just revel in God’s creative handiwork and marvel at how the snow blankets the noisy suburb and paints the neighborhood in a lush winter white.


Share or follow

Related posts:

Another Teenager

Well, it appears we have another teenager in the family. I try to keep the kids from growing so fast, but they refuse to obey. Just the other day, David informed he was going to turn 8 whether I was ready or not.

The nerve of these kids.

A teenager at last!

In case anyone might forget, Rachel’s birthday year was written in bold letters for all to see.

Last year Rachel celebrated her birthday in grand style. It took two vehicles to transport us all to her Sleepover Extravaganza. There were gingerbread houses, games, explorations in the woods, and lots of giggling.

A lot of giggling.

More giggling than sleeping, I think.

birthday morning decorations

It wouldn’t be a birthday in our house without some sort of decorations greeting you in the morning.

This year Rachel wasn’t sure how she wanted to celebrate. Perhaps an ice skating outing with one or two friends. Or maybe just a family party. The days went by and we still didn’t have anything planned or organized. Finally I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to steal Rachel away for some mother/daughter birthday fun.

Nothing says, “Let’s head off for some fun!” quite like Starbucks, so that was our first stop.

coffee time

One eggnog latte and a grande Americano, please!

From there I surprised Rachel with a trip to the mall. She’s been begging, plotting, scheming, okay, waiting patiently to see if she would be allowed to wear make-up when she turned 13. The discussion among parents went something like this:

K: Tim, so, are you okay with Rachel starting to wear make-up?
T: (hyperventilating) Absolutely not! My baby will not go around like some painted hussy. Over my dead body!
K: Hussy? Dead body? Not being dramatic, are we love?
T: Dramatic? You haven’t seen dramatic yet. I haven’t even begun to be dramatic. Hand me some tools, I’m going to barricade Rachel in her room.
K: Watch the blood pressure, dear.

The topic was dropped for several weeks until a calmer moment could be found. Finally we decided, some amount of make-up would be allowed. Rachel suffers from being shorter (and therefore quite a bit younger looking) than Daniel (a year and a half her junior). It’s difficult to be asked if you are 10 years old when you’re almost 13.

painted hussy?

My hope is that make-up, granted with permission and teaching, can be something that enhances and spotlights Rachel’s natural beauty. We didn’t want it to become a subject of rebellion and frustration for Rachel.

Rachel is a mature, beautiful young lady, growing in wisdom and knowledge of the Lord. It is a delight to see her seek after Him. We have faith that she will handle the freedoms of teenage-life with grace.

glamorous girl

Our birthday outing was sadly short as the day was busy and there were other needs (needy children) demanding my attention.

birthday breakfast

Rachel requested an eggnog ice cream cake for her birthday. The spaghetti and meatballs she wanted for dinner were easily acquired. The eggnog cake is proving to be more difficult. One of the local grocery store carries eggnog ice cream. At least they feature a label with the name of the ice cream. So far, and we’ve been in twice, and another friend 3 times, all we’ve found is an empty spot on the shelf.

Poor Rachel, 13 years old and no cake to celebrate her special day. I wonder if we can make our own eggnog ice cream. Anyone ever tried it? Share your recipe!

Rachel – Happy Birthday, precious daughter! We are so very thrilled to have you in our family. What a joy it is to be your mother.


Share or follow

Related posts:


A Hardboiled Egg

Today I received an egg in my lunch.

This is a somewhat unusual occurrence. Kathy graciously prepares a lunch for me, whenever I work in the city; she takes very good care of me. Today there was lettuce, but (since I am counting every calorie) there were no croutons. There were also no tomatoes, since we’re counting grocery dollars, and we can’t quite get back to the idea of paying $3/pound for tomatoes when we used to harvest them for free from the backyard. Ours were better, too.

I don’t really like salad, which is why my eyes lit up when I saw the egg.

“I’ll crumble up that hard-boiled egg, and put it on my salad,” I assured myself. “They will help to absorb the watery salad spritzer dressing, and redeem this salad,” I promised myself in a hearty tone.

One should always be wary of people who speak in hearty tones.

I cracked the egg, and realized, belatedly, that the egg was not, in fact, hardboiled. Pandemonium, on a very small scale, ensued.

My co-workers glibly assured me that Kathy did not do this to me on purpose, but I am plagued by doubt. Perhaps it is time to step up the pace of my Christmas shopping for my beloved bride.

An egg
Not my actual egg.

Now that I have been dieting for five (or is it six?) weeks, I’ve become accustomed to disappointment in food, or at least, disappointment in portion sizes. The amazement (“No way. You mean that is a cup of mashed potatoes? It would hardly take three bites to eat it!”) has given way to a numb acceptance of how little, in fact, I need to eat to sustain myself.

Yesterday was a hard day. It started out on the wrong foot, as I recklessly squandered 400 calories on a bagel at Panera’s (with two pats of butter). I became over-hungry before lunch, and the feeling of deprivation wouldn’t seem to pass. I decided I wanted to devour the world, or at least as much of it as I could comfortably stuff into my mouth. My daily 8:30 pm appointment with the ice cream freezer seemed eons away.

I hate days like that.

Calories burned
Calories consumed versus calories burned, on average

Late in the afternoon, I remembered my panacea for calorie-poor, appetite-rich days: get some exercise. While I require myself to eat 500 calories less, each day, than I burn, there’s no rule that says I can’t burn extra calories. Our whole family rushed off to the YMCA, and I ‘earned’ an extra 600 calories for the evening. While this diet rages, I may find myself much more willing to visit the local Y. Yesterday was a good day for that: I increased my annual visit average by at least 50%.

I can’t complain, all evidence to the contrary. I lost another pound this week, bringing me to a total loss of 9 pounds, at least 5 of them legitimate. That puts me on track for my goal of 28 pounds lost by May 20. Some days I feel that I am getting the hang of it, but on others, May 20 seems a long way away. And then there’s the question of what I will do in May? Even if I lose the targeted 28 pounds, I’ll still be 30 pounds overweight, according to the fiendish weight/height calculator gnomes.

Goal graph
My weight-loss plan.

One six-month-horrific-diet-plan at a time, I guess.

Some ten of you have promised to pray for me, at least 4 times a week; please know that I have been keeping up my end of the bargain, praying for each of you by name, six days a week. I credit the relative ease of this diet and the success I am enjoying, to the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, and I commend you for your continued prayer-work on my behalf.

Maybe if you really pray for me, next time I’m in the city, I’ll even get a hard-boiled egg. :)


Share or follow

Related posts:

A Rambling Blog

It’s not that I don’t want to blog regularly, it’s just that I need sleep. And I need to educate my children. They also produce a vast amount of dirty laundry, dishes, and general clutter. Those things combined with a strange blogger’s block, has kept me rather silent on the blog of late.

It's Advent Time!!

December 1st brings with it our fun Advent calendars.

I’m afraid I also struggle with the occasional bouts of intense bloggy insecurity.

This should be the FUNNIEST blog ever!
No, wait, it should be an amazing HOMESCHOOL blog, full of resources, tips and curriculum reviews.
But don’t forget the spiritual emphasis, really the blog needs to be deep and meaningful.
And the photos, those should be stunning and creative.
What about popular? Of course, I want to have the most read and commented upon blog EVER.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on one little blog. It’s enough to send a girl scrambling for the bed covers, sneaking chocolate at an alarming rate.

sarah's a helper

Sarah was a big Advent prep helper. She put together calendars and got things ready for our Advent fun.

Thankfully none of you dear readers put those expectations on the blog, so I can just pick up the keyboard and jump back into my writing. I’ve missed you! I’ve missed the conversations and the mental challenge of crafting my posts. Frankly I’ve missed the quiet evenings when I have the house (and computer) to myself.

What about you? If you are a blogger, do you write daily? Weekly? How much time do you devote to reading other people’s blogs. If I’m not careful, the computer tries to eat up great chunks of our homeschool day, and then, not satisfied, it wants to snatch away precious family time. Greedy computer and the cyberworld it dangles before me.

David and Caedie

David and Caedie are great friends and they were sad to see co-op come to an end last week.

It’s December 8th and I’m determined to enjoy the holiday season! I want to take pleasure in each day and savor the anticipation of Christmas, the wonder of Christ’s birth, and the joy of my family. Tomorrow is Rachel’s birthday (excuse me while I pick myself up off the floor – how did my sweet little girl become a teenager??), and the month is full of one activity after another. I’m praying for balance and a child-like joy.


Share or follow

Related posts: