Thursday, December 11, 2008

Many nights before Christmas

About this time in Israel some 2008 years ago.

Jerusalem.

King Herod.

It was after a sumptuous meal; pork ribs, cassava, fries and Mountain Dew, that dear Mr Herod decided to waltz to the palace balcony to stare at the stars. Already, his protruding belly was starting to complain about the heavy load.
When he reached the steps, he felt how tiresome going up them would be. So he called Jamha, the new servant from some lands near Ethiopia to carry him. Jamha did as asked and soon Mr. Herod was enjoying the cool breeze of the night while gazing at the stars.

The steps he failed to climb were three to be exact.

The night sky was bright, illuminating the great town below: Jerusalem. Jerusalem which he had conquered, of course with the help of the Legion forces. Then, it had been ruined, turned into a pile of stone. However, who did not know this was King Herod. He had rebuilt it and this magnificent palace was his achievement. That was not all; he built the great fortress of Antonia, a temple three or four times bigger than the largest temple in Rome making it the largest religious complex in the ancient world. The size of the temple would elevate the esteem of the Jews as being important people and perhaps it would also elevate his importance as King of the Jews.

But the Romans. Spit. Damn Romans liked to give orders. As though this was their land. He spat again over the balcony. Yet it was not really something to complain about. He was rich- had all he needed: The fortress to protect his city, the temple to please his God and his God's priests, and the palace. In the palace was food, and Jamhas; answering each command . It was not a bad arrangement. It was simple really- he kissed Roman butt and others kissed his butt. Some unholy butt kissing order.

The spittle landed on a small stone and slid off.

As he continued to gaze, he noticed a queer site! There was an oddly bright star in the night, brighter than other stars. Almost as bright as the moon.

"Sir! You have visitors!"
Jamha interrupted the star gazing.

"Who?"

"Three important looking men. They have bling on head on ears and on fingers."

"Kings! You fool!"

He hurried down this time oblivious of the need for Jamha and eased into his throne. "Let them in."

The three men came in.

***

"Jamha!! Call Omunene!!"

Omunene came donning an all important look. He went over immediately to where Herod was and they ascended to the balcony. Herod pointed and Omunene was taken aback! They exchanged a few words. Suddenly, the calm on Herod disappeared. The two looked perturbed. Omunene then raised his hand as if with an idea and bid Herod to come with Him.

Down the three steps again, without calling Jamha, and down the stairs out the door into the carriage! It seems they were going to the temple.

Pwat! Pwat!
The horses began to move.

Soon they were at the temple. They both hurried after another and soon Omunene got into a room with thousands of scrolls. He looked up and down, sideways and then pointed to a particular row in the room. They went there in a hurry. Quickly he removed one scroll and opened it, it read:
“And you, Bethlehem Ephratah, you being least among the thousands of Judah, out of you He shall come forth to Me, to become Ruler in Israel, He whose goings forth have been from of old, from the days of eternity. ” (Micah 5:2).


Herod began to sweat uncontrollably. They both discussed intensely and then left the room.

***

It was very dark now. In the deep of the night. That time when evil men would plot evil things, that he sent for the three Kings.

"Gentlemen, this King I would also like to worship. I am told He will be born in Bethlehem. Please go and look diligently for him, and when you do find him please send word that I may also come to worship him."

***

They were gone now. He was in his bedroom thinking about the night.

"Child? King? I alone am King of Israel!!" He barked.

"And when they find him, I shall kill him."

...to be continued.
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I need comments regarding the quality of the piece. Need ideas on how to better the writing. Other than that, my birthday to all who would like to know is on the 18th day of the 12th month. Enough questions already.

There seems not to be a carol about Herod, anyone want to compose one?

In the meantime, let me share a history of one of my favourite carols- We three Kings.

The famous American carol We three Kings of Orient are was written in 1857 by Rev. John Henry Hopkins. The minister is reputed to have written the carol We three Kings of Orient are for the General Theological Seminary in New York City as part of their Christmas pageant. The lyrics of We three Kings of Orient are are extremely traditional which makes the latter day fashion of referring to the carol as We 3 Kings of Orient are quite bizarre!


I love the song regardless of it being too traditional to this time and would have shared the lyrics if they were not so long but I was overwhelmed at least look at the last two:

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies

O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to Thy perfect light


So looking forward to Christmas.
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