In the Library with Jesus

Dec 07, 2009 | Updated May 25, 2011

Once, around the Christmas season, while in the library, I looked at the baby Jesus in his manger. The librarian had just turned on the light above the stable inside the Nativity display. Jesus was the star surrounded by a full cast. He was electric. His hands moved up and down, greeting his fans. A fellow traveler joined me at the show.

"I'm Joseph," he said, quietly. "My wife had an affair. Who are you?" he asked.
"I'm the inn keeper," I replied. "I told them no room at the inn."
"Meanie, " he said, and then sneezed, droplets falling on the stable like shooting stars from heaven.

Later, while reading a book on cuckolds, I watched other visitors gaze at the Nativity, the biggest show on earth, at least around these moving parts. A muddy kid, stuck on his I-Phone, interrupted his witness by following the passion for texting, or maybe updating his Facebook profile, maybe even a Tweet about his revelation. He must be the shepherd, I thought, following sheep around all day. A dad with his toddler in a stroller rolled into the scene. The kid threw his pacifier into the stable, knocking a donkey on its ass. And he started to wail, prompting irreverent frowns on the faces of the gathered readers. Holy smoke! Peace to all mankind, I thought, covering my ears.

At the end of the library day, just before the librarian turned out the light above the door, three men with stacks of varying books walked in. "Just made it in time," I heard one say. They drove off in their SUVs, West bound.

As the librarian evicted us from the book chapel, I stopped and paid homage to Jesus, for giving us some light in the season of shopping.