For Part NINE, click HERE
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The stable came back. I was still kneeling beside the manger; my tears were still His crown. The others had all gathered close and were waiting in a hush. The baby let go of my hand. He turned His tiny head and looked at the side of the manger. The point of a careless nail protruded starkly through the wood. Slowly, deliberately, He reached His tiny hand toward it. The woman perceived His intent, and started forward to stop Him, but the man stopped her.
The baby covered that nail point with His hand, and then, deliberate and slow, He pushed His palm against the nail. He never hesitated; he never even winced. He drew back his hand, and there in His palm lay a red pearl of great price—a drop of His innocent blood.He reached His wounded palm out to me and then He pressed it against my forehead like a kiss… and my pain was gone. My grief and sorrow vanished, and I was healed, and filled with light—HIS very light!
I rose and ran to my packs and drew out the chest of myrrh. I took it to the baby and laid it at his feet.
“Oh my Blood King, my death is your death, and your life is my life,” I said. I was still weeping, but now with tears of joy and gratitude.He answered
“I am King of Lights who has become Blood King. Your death has become Mine, and My Life and My Light are become yours. You are My Light King! Here is My charge to you: go in My Light. Spread it wherever you go. Care for the children. Give them gifts. Wherever you speak, there Light shall be. Wherever you give, Life shall grow. Remain faithful until you see Me return on high! For I will go, and I will return! The Star King and the Mountain King were transformed by these events came and they bowed low, laying their gifts at His feet. They had found the Song of the Star! Gillae, Brownie, Dannaeo, Mikkens and Towser also stepped forward. The Baby giggled and petted each one. They received His touch like knights receiving the dubbing of their King’s sword.
Gillae turned to me and said, “I see now, Light King, the hidden ways of the Master. I honor Him and acknowledge you, His messenger and Giftbearer.”
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The fire popped and crackled as sparks occasionally leapt skyward. The old man’s voice faltered and grew and silent. He seemed lost in memory. Sweet Caroline and Frederick waited, and waited for him to continue, but finally Frederick could wait no longer.
“Finish the story Grandpa! PUH—LEEZE!”
“Yes, oh yes”, chimed in Sweet Caroline. “What happened next?”
“Huh?” asked the old man. “Oh. Sorry my bumpkins, I was just remembering. Well I told the Star King and the Mountain King all that had happened to me and introduced them to my shepherd friends. Then an angel told us to go home a different way. Seems the Breaker had gotten hold of an evil king’s heart. But that’s the stuff of other tales.
“I finally arrived back at LIGHTSHINE HEARTHHOME exactly two years to the day I had departed. Everyone was shocked to see me. They thought I had died. And –in a way—I had. They had let all the lights go out.
“Except for your dad! Maker’s hands, he had kept his burning for me, and he stepped out of the crowd that day, marched straight up to me, and proclaimed, ‘BEHOLD THE LIGHT KING!’ And nobody laughed, for it was finally, impossibly true.”
“And all the dead lamps, Grandpa”, asked Sweet Caroline. “Did you light them?”
“Yes Grandpa,” echoed Frederick. “Did you bring light back home?”
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For Part NINE, click HERE
For Part SEVEN, click HERE
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When Gillae heard that death cry, he actually threw his head back and laughed!
‘Be OFF with your foul self!’ he commanded.
And the thing actually stopped. But then it spoke, and the sound was terrible, like the squeaking of a cemetery gate. It dug savagely into my mind.
‘You have no authority to make such command’ it hissed. ‘For your insolence I shall stop your heart and feed it to my wolves!’ the thing continued. ‘You have no part of this. But, in my great mercy I may let you live and even give you wealth and fame and comfort! But you must walk away and leave the night to us.’
“Gillae jumped forward with a war whoop and swung his staff with all his might right at the center of this thing, and screamed ‘In the name of the Baby King and Heaven’s Song I come against you to the death and I rebuke you!’
“And with that his staff found its mark. The demon gave a scream of pain, fear, and rage mingled with defeat, and then with a bang the monster was gone!
“Gillae looked at me as I sat speechless and frozen in fear. The great man winked and nodded, and gently said ‘Eh, Brownie, pick up your jaw and rise up! We have a flock to lead and a king to find!’
“And then he was off to slay the remaining wolves.
“I hurried off across the field in search of the sheep, and that is when I stumbled over you! All this time you had been out of it, lying in the field while angels and demons made war round about you. I looked over for Gillae just as he slew the last 2 beasts, and hollered for him, and, well, you pretty much know the rest. Can you see why we were uncertain regarding yourself? After what we had been through you could have been nearly anything! It is funny when you think about it…we found our king all right, but one who was old and dying, rather than a newborn babe who is called Wonderful Counselor!”
Brownie walked in silence and I pondered what he’d said.
Finally I said “Thank you for the tale Brownie. I understand why you are such a fierce defender of Gillae. He is brave AND modest, a rare and pleasing combination. Your testimony is true and loyal.”
“Aye, and it is also too much talking and not enough working!” that booming familiar voice thundered. There stood Gillae, big as a horse! He had slipped back to us unnoticed as we talked, and overheard everything Brownie said. Brownie hung his head and hurried off to help the other men with the flock.
“Forgive the boy, Sir King” Gillae requested. “He is forward and given to bragging. It is to my detriment that I have not succeeded in instilling within him some restraint.”
“On the contrary, Sir Shepherd,” I answered. “He is a bright boy, and I sense his story is true, yes? A more complete picture worthy of reporting to a king?”
Gillae reddened and inhaled sharply. “I am reluctant to speak about such things” Gillae answered quietly. And then Gillae would speak no more on the subject.
After a while, Dannaeo fell back to walk with Gillae and Mikkens and Towser and I.
“We draw near, Sir King,” he said.
Gillae looked intently at me and said “Know that all is not as it seems. High is come down and low is lifted up. Light is cloaked and darkness becomes light. Even as He comes, so too must you come.” I was at a loss when he spoke, but my heart stirred at the promise of light. Gillae gazed at me unblinking, eyes glowing.
I looked back in exhausted confusion. “What do you mean, Gillae?”
“I will say no more, lest I put you in danger of pride. Only realize that to rise you must descend, to be found you must be lost. Take heart and be bold. Believe your heart, and remember your dreams!”
“Remember them!” I repeated in pain. “I spend all my waking hours trying to forget them!”
“Nevertheless, again I bid you—REMEMBER THEM! For the Master wastes nothing.”
We finally came to the outskirts of a small town and the Star stopped, and fell lower and lower until it was drawn impossibly near to earth and hovered there, motionless in stellar proclamation of heavenly portents.
The town was bursting at the seams with impossible crowds of people all trying at once to find food and lodging. We came to the inn, and I was sure that Gillae and the boys would get a room for me to rest and prepare to meet the Mighty One. But they walked straight on by with nary a glance! Down a narrow lane into an even narrower alley, flock and all, only to enter into the gloomy darkness of a smelly, dirty old stable!
“Gillae, why do we come to THIS place,” I asked him in confusion.
“Listen in your heart, and you will know, Sir King,” he answered, “but if you are deaf, then lift up your head and you will see the star over your head like a bonfire of comfort and joy.”
And I looked up and there it was in its beauty to take away your breath. I looked around us and saw animals, some people (shepherds mostly), and even Kings! Yes—the Star King and the Mountain King had found this decrepit place, too.
But no one was looking at us. They were all looking at a manger, or rather, the small baby who lay in the manger. He was newly born and at peace.
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** For Part SEVEN, click HERE