The Embrace: A Christmas Story

The Embrace

A Christmas Story


Joseph Anthony


They walked all day. Miles
they came taking turns carrying the child. As the mother and father moved
cautiously through the darkening woods they ached with fatigue. And when their
plodding steps slowed to a halt they couldn’t help it, they sat down to rest right
there in the middle of the road. The mother handed the child to the father so
she could stretch out. The father held the child on his chest and joined her on
the cool, dusty road. 

silently, from the darkness, yellow eyes appeared. The father grabbed the child
and sat upright. Suddenly animals stepped from the shadows towards them. He
roused his wife. They huddled there together, shaking—turning every which way
only to see animals forming a circle around them. The child began to giggle.
The father moved to cover his face, but the child brushed his hands away. His
eyes widened with glee as the animals moved closer.

first to reach them was the mountain lion. She carried something in her mouth.
It was a rabbit. She laid it at their feet and turned away, yellow eyes
flashing. The bear lumbered towards them next. In his mouth were two rainbow
trout. He laid them before the trembling couple, snorted and sniffled, and then
turned back to the shadows. Then came the heron, looking for all intensive
purposes like a tall, skinny butler. He stepped his long, remarkable strides,
and in his outstretched wings was held a bowl of pure, cold water. He offered
it without spilling a drop. And so, one by one the animals came bearing gifts
of wild berries, salads of dandelion greens and edible flowers, and even
freshly baked bread from—from—the couple never found out where from. And lastly
came the reindeer and the wolf. The reindeer carried a wreath of glowing
candles in her antlers. With the utmost care she laid it before them. It
illuminated their tear-stained faces. The wolf took his place beside the family
and stood guard as they began to eat.

And so
that night they feasted on a meal lovingly prepared by the animals. They had
never had such a nourishing meal.

they had eaten and drank their fill, the wolf disappeared into the cave of the
night. And the couple laid back in the road to sleep. The darkness was almost
complete as they stared exhausted into the tree-branch laced sky. Then all at
once the trees leaned forward and down with their branches. The couple
screamed, but then realized the trees were opening their arms in offering—they
were giving them a place to nestle for the night. 

couple looked at each other and then carefully stood and stepped into the
waiting branches. The trees lifted them instantly high off the ground. The air
caressed the little trinity of humanity as it rose, higher into the night sky.
That night, they slept like baby birds in the gently swaying trees. 

It was
the child who awoke when he heard the earth singing the sweetest of lullabies.
It was a song of crickets and of night birds and frogs, it was the song of the
padded steps of animals, it was the song of the river flowing somewhere in the
darkness. As he listened, he felt the earth holding the roots of their tree
with all of the love and tenacity of a mother swaddling her baby. 

And so
it was the child who felt the arms of the moon reaching down and lifting them
even higher.

embrace was like refreshing silver water pouring slowly over them. And as the
moon cradled the little family, the child laughed as he watched the Milky Way
swooping her star-fringed arms and gathering them all—the mother and father, the
babe, the animals, the trees, the earth, and the moon into her gently dancing

the baby reached up and brushed her face, tracing his fingers through her
star-dappled hair. And as he did, his eyes caught site of the universe turning
towards them, carrying them along in the perfect folds of his cloak of shadows
and light.

the child laughed. He laughed as he saw the Creator of All holding them
tenderly in cupped hands. And as he took in this marvelous vision, he sank into
the cradle of his parents arms and knew all of this was within himself. He held
it all—the animals, the trees, the earth, the moon, the Milky Way, the
universe, and the Creator–in his heart. Within him was one elaborate tapestry
of wonder and perfection. He knew he treasured it all inside, and with that
thought, he went to sleep in the dear, innocent arms of his mother and father. 

Merry Christmas.


Copyright Joseph Anthony of the Wonder Child Blog

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