“We must hurry,” said Melchior. “I wouldn’t have thought it possible but the weather is getting worse.” The magi could hear distant, metallic thuds of strange thunder, and the wind that swept around them blew gales of cold, dry snow. “It can’t be much further. We must make no more delay!”
And with that the three men urged their camels forward through the blowing snow. Bethlehem lay just beyond one final hill. They’d travelled the hard roads from the far corner of the eastern table-lands of Di’ningoom. And now, after so many long days and worrisome nights, they’d almost reached their destination. They’d come so close, but…
“What is that?” shouted Gaspar! “I hear something in the wind.”
“More thunder?” asked Belshazzar. “This storm is strange beyond all accounting; never have I seen atmospheric conditions such as these.”
But it was not thunder. “No!” Gaspar exclaimed. “Dogs! The king has loosed his hounds upon us. We’re doomed. If the storm does not kill us, Herod’s dogs will. We are doomed, ill fated. This is a disaster.”
“Nonsense!” bellowed Melchior. “The star has not failed us, and even now its light pierces the raging storm. Look.” He pointed and, indeed, a shaft a glorious light illuminated the sleeping village of Bethlehem. “Fly faster now, my brothers. Ride! Ride on to find the king!” He thumped his camel in the side with his heels. The camel grunted and took off at a long-legged trot. The other magi pulled their scarves tighter around their faces to protect themselves from the wind and followed after him.
They arrived in Bethlehem, breathless and joyous but not yet fully relieved. They’d found the place where the newborn king of the Jews lay sleeping in a manger, but the danger had not yet passed. The barking dogs were closer, and the astrologers could hear the screams of little girls.
“It’s too late!” moaned Gaspar. “The king has found us, has found the child. We’re doomed. Doomed!”
Just then an angel swooped down from the sky and landed in front of them. He shook the snow from his wings, tossed back his curly, golden hair and said, “Fear not; a way has been prepared for you. Your flight to Egypt is now boarding. Please have your boarding passes ready.”
A smiling stewardess guided Melchior, Belshazzar, Gaspar, and Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus (still sleeping unaware in the manger), along with two shepherds and a handful of sheep into a jumbo jetliner. Clearance for departure came to the pilot from the control tower, and they were off, escaping just ahead of the dogs sent by the murderous king. They were safe – all of them except for one sheep who fell out the window as the plane ascended into the night sky.
They fled from the dangerous king, but the winter storm had continued its pursuit. The wind blew stronger now. The snow obscured the skies. “I can’t see anything through this storm,” gasped the pilot.
“We’re doomed!” wailed Gaspar from his seat in coach as he fumbled to fasten his seat belt and pulled down the overhead oxygen mask.
“Fear not” said the angel. “I will guide you through the storm.”
But angel flew too fast, and the pilot could not follow. The plane was buffeted by turbulence. Engine number one caught on fire and the plane began to spiral down towards the sands of Egypt.
“This is a disaster! We’re doomed!” screamed Gaspar. “Doooooooooooooooooooomed!”
“Cut it out, Jeff,” came a voice from the kitchen. “That’s not how the Christmas story goes.”
“It is when you’re playing on the floor with your nephew and his toys,” I said and picked up another figurine. “But not to worry; three Jedi knights were there in the desert with their lightsabers…”