From A Walk in the Valley
By A.F. Winter
Written in the beginning of the 21st Century
Found in a manger, less than one hour old.
Before he lived thirty six years, he lay cold.
He came to save us, whatever he was.
He came to save us, and now he is gone.
It was Christmas eve. Pedestrians were rushing back and forth, hurrying to and fro, thinking of the money that they spent and the gifts they were about to receive. Hundreds of people had passed the small manger set up outside of the old run-down church.
Statues of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus lying in his cradle. There were two wise men, no one knew what happened to the third. There was a cow and a goat. All in all it was a pretty unexceptional display. The plastic figures, lit from within by forty watt light bulbs were the type that anyone could buy at the local hardware store.
A young woman with a package in her arms stopped for a moment and seemed to offer a silent prayer, and then was gone. Now there was no one to offer a silent prayer to the silent figures. The clock struck twelve. No one had noticed anything strange just a moment before, but suddenly he was there. In the cradle where the plastic baby Jesus was, a living, breathing, crying baby now reached out to the busy world. He cried as if to announce his arrival.
An old woman heard the cries and stopped. She walked slowly to the manger, unsure of what she was about to see. When she saw the baby, the packages slipped from her hands, she sank to her knees. The baby stopped crying and smiled at her. She bowed her head and closed her eyes finding it very hard to breathe in the cold night air. A man seeing the old woman bent over, stopped to help her. She did not respond. He looked at the manger and saw the baby in the cradle looking serenely at him. He stared dumbly back as his legs gave way underneath him. One by one, the pedestrians stopped and approached the manger. One by one, they dropped to their knees. One by one, they forgot about the money they spent and the gifts that they would receive. They closed their eyes in silent prayer.