Night Lights in the Forest – 6

Emmy looked at Eryndir and then walked hesitantly into the room which looked like those military command centers she had seen in movies. Except that instead of wires, there was tree branches or roots leading up to and surrounding each display or control panel. All of the equipment, monitors, keyboards, display panels grew out of the wood.
On the far wall, huge screens displayed maps of the forest and surrounding areas. Highlighted in bright colors, she saw groups of dots and in other colors were groups of little squares. Everyone in the room was talking at once.
Tables with two to three elves worked at workstations with large screens that covered smaller portions of the large screens on the wall. Each of the elves had on a wooden headset connected with small, leafy tendrils and rapidly conversed with someone. Occasionally, one of them reached out and moved something on his or her screen. Immediately, a group of dots or squares on the large screens flashed and moved to a new location.
Eryndir poked Emmys arm with his elbow, “Come with me. I want you to meet someone.”
Emmy turned and told Booger to sit and stay, he whimpered but sat down. She then followed Eryndir. One of the darkened, unused monitors, flickered briefly on as Emmy walked within a foot of it.
They approached a woman elf surrounded by other elves providing reports to her, listening to her responses, nodding quickly and running off to deliver the information or to pass on orders.
“Galalithe, ma’am?”
“Yes, Eryndir, what is it?” Galalithe continued to look at one of the large screens and give orders in a subdued voice.
“About that captive human girl taken into the vortex…”
“Get to the point, Eryndir, what is it?”
“I have her sister here and she wants to go on the rescue mission and…”
Galalithe whirled on her heel to face him, “…and what?”
“And, so do I.”
Galalithe looked at the two of them for a short moment. Her eyes darted back and forth between them quickly like a flickering light.
“No!” She turned on her heel and walked away, issuing orders to others in rapid fire as she went.
“Ok, smart guy, what now?” Emmy said while watching Galalithe move quickly away from them.
“Um…”
Emmy turn to face Eryndir, “Is that it? Is there anything we can do to change her mind?”
Eryndir looked Emmy in the eyes and stammered, “No, not that I can think of…Galalithe must have…”
“Oh, never mind, I’ll take this into my own hands.”
Emmy turned on her heel and walked directly toward Galalithe, still surrounded by uniformed Elves either reporting to or getting orders from her.
Emmy stopped about three feet directly behind Galalithe, within inches of an unused workstation, put her hands on her hips, cleared her throat and announced in a firm voice, “Galalithe. I am sorry to interrupt you, but I am going to help rescue my sister.”
Silence filled the room. People stopped moving, stopped talking, turned toward Emmy and stared at her. Then their gaze shifted past her to the monitor that had flickered earlier.
“What is your command?” a voice intoned behind her. People rushed forward to see the monitor. The crowd parted to make room for Galalithe and Emmy, who now stood side by side staring at the formerly lifeless workstation.

The Best Christmas Present Ever

This is a script I wrote  a decade or so ago for Sunday School. The formatting did not come across right, but I hope you enjoy it.

* * *

The Best Christmas Present Ever

By: S.C. Mathisen

Narrator:        One weekend, Susie and Stanley were spending the weekend with their Grandparents. Grammie was busy elsewhere in the house. Grandpa was in the kitchen whipping up a batch of his world famous oatmeal raisin cookies. The two kids have been trying to decide what would be the best Christmas present to get.

Stanley:        But Susie, I still think that a complete collection of Tonka trucks would be the best ever. Just think of all the dirt you could move!!

Susie:        Oh yeah, and you know how mom feels about all that dirt. Now what I think is that new Barbie doll with all of her stuff like the big house that looks like a castle & cars & boats & clothes…wow, that would be great!!

Stanley:        But that’s girl stuff!!

Susie:        Yes and trucks are boy stuff. We gotta think of something that anybody would like.

Stanley:        How about computer games? Remember that game where you had to find things, and it took us nearly a week of looking together to find everything?? That was fun, and we both like it.

Susie:        Yes, that’s true, and we both played with the Legos and Lincoln Logs. I made a doll house out them, and you built a fort.

Stanley:        But maybe older kids & grownups wouldn’t like that stuff as much as we would.

Susie:        You’re right, Stanley. Hmm, what would ANYBODY like to get…???

Stanley:        Hey! Maybe we could ask Grampa. He could help us figure it out.

Together:        Yeah!!!

Both kids jump up and rush into the kitchen . . .

Together:        Grampa!!!

Grampa looks up from his cookie mix . . .

Grampa:        Hey there kiddos! How are my two favorite grandchildren?

Together:        Grampa! We’re you’re only grandchildren.

Grampa:        Well, that doesn’t change the fact that you are my two favorite grandchildren in the whole wide world. Now, what is it that you two want? The world famous oatmeal raisin cookies have not even gone in the oven yet. I was just tasting the dough to make sure I haven’t left anything out.

Susie:        Grampa! They are not cooked yet! Ewww!! Yuck!!

Licking his lips & fingers . . .

Stanley:        I don’t know, Susie, this tastes kind of good. This would go great with ice cream Grampa!

Grampa:        What was it you guys wanted anyway??

Stanley:        Oh, yeah . . . we wanted you to help us figure something out.

Susie:        That’s right. We have been trying to figure out what the best ever Christmas present would be. Stanley thinks that it would be Tonka trucks & stuff. I think that it would be all the new Barbie dolls & stuff. Then we thought about computer games that we could both play or Lego’s or Lincoln Logs or—

Grampa:        Whoa there little one, I got the idea. Why don’t the two of you sit down at the table there while I put this first tray of my world famous oatmeal raisin cookies in the oven? We’ll talk while they are baking & maybe we can sample them fresh out of the oven.

Both kids:        All Right!!!

Grampa:        Now let me get this oven door open, put this tray in, make sure that the temperature is just right and set the timer. Good! All done! Now, let’s talk about this present thing. I don’t think that you kids are thinking big enough. Let’s think about the best present ever given. Not just the Christmas type. I seem to remember a story that starts like this.

A long time ago, far, far away, back during the time when God had just created the earth. He had just finished making all of the animals and fish and plants & trees. He said that all of this is good, but . . . He then took some mud and created Adam. (I think that is why boys like dirt so much.) When Adam was awake and had looked around a little bit, God asked him to name all the animals. Well, that took awhile, but, after Adam was done, he was a little lonely. All of the animals had males and females. They had someone to spend time with and talk with and stuff, but…Adam didn’t. God knew that this was making Adam sad. So, He put Adam to sleep and took one of his ribs and made Eve. She was a present from God to Adam. God then gave the whole world to Adam and Eve to rule over and be masters of. That was a pretty big present if you ask me.

Well, pretty soon Adam and Eve messed up and sinned against God. This pretty much messed up everything all around. They got kicked out of the garden that God had planted for them to live in and they had to work hard every day just to survive. Sin had been brought into the world by their disobedience, and the world has been a mess ever since.

 

But, even as God was kicking them out of the garden, He made a promise that one day He would send someone to do something about the mess that they made.

Well, a lot of time passed, and God gave lots of presents to His people. Sometimes the presents were people to help them out when they were in trouble like Noah and Moses. Sometimes He gave them food and water where there wasn’t any like when the children of Israel were wandering in the desert for 40 years. God fed them twice a day.

When they got to the Chosen Land, He helped them take control of it and get settled. He sent people called Judges to help them when they forgot about God and got themselves in trouble. He gave them a king when they wanted one. When they were taken into captivity after forgetting about God again for a long time, He sent them Daniel and kept him from getting eaten in the lions den. He sent them Queen Esther to keep them from getting killed by the evil Haman. He brought them back to Israel when He said that He would and even after they were conquered by the Romans. The finally time came for the best present of all.

There was a young girl named Mary we talked about her before, do you remember? Do you remember how when the angel told her that she was going to become pregnant, and she said that couldn’t be because she was not married and the angel told her that all things are possible with God? She told the angel that it was ok with her because it was going to be from God. Do you also remember that she did get married, and she and her husband Joseph had to travel all the way to Bethlehem because the Roman Caesar wanted to count everyone? And then there was no room at the inn, and they had to sleep in the stable? And then angels appeared to some shepherds to tell them that a wonderful thing was about to happen?  Do you remember what the angel said?

“But the angel said to them, do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

The angels were talking about Jesus. He was the one that God promised to Adam and Eve that would clean up the mess that they had made. Jesus came to clean us and take away all of our sins by dying on the cross for us.

Jesus is the best Christmas present ever.

Stanley:        Wow Grampa! That’s really cool. I never thought of it that way before.

Susie:        That’s right Stanley, and now because we have asked Jesus into our hearts as our Lord and Saviour, we can go to heaven when we die and live for Him while we are alive.

Stanley:        And we can pray to Him when we feel lonely or scared or for just any old reason.

Grampa:        That’s right kids. I think that you understand really well. Oops, the timer just went off. Who wants some of my fresh hot world famous oatmeal raisin cookies???

Stanley:        Grampa, do you think that it would be a good idea to tell our friends about Jesus being the best Christmas present ever? I was thinking about telling my friend Whitney and maybe Johnnie.

Grampa:        I think that would be the best idea that anyone could ever have.

Susie:        That’s right! If we tell other people about it, it would be like giving them the best Christmas present ever, and we could give it to everyone we know!! Like I could tell my friend Cherry!

Grampa:        That’s right Susie and you too Stanley. Stanley, could you get the milk from the refrigerator? Susie, could you get some small plates. I think that you two will need some milk and cookies before you go & tell all of you friends about Jesus and ask them to accept God’s Best Christmas Present ever.

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Two Shepherds

As it is Christmas eve, I would like to share an original Christmas story of mine. With this story, it is my fervent wish and hope that each and every one of you (my readers) will come to know the Saviour that we celebrate on this Christmas Eve.

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Two Shepherds  

Original story told by: God

Adapted by: S.C. Mathisen

“Jacob, how long are you going to lie there and stare at the night sky?”

“As long as I need to Zebedee, I’ve been watching this star every night for the last several months, and it seems to be getting closer and closer every night. I can’t figure it out.”

“We need to get back to the flock; I’m worried that those Roman soldiers will decide to help themselves to a couple of our sheep while we are away from them.”

“All right, all right, I’m ready to go back now. I made a few notes on the position tonight. It looks like it is straight above that little village of Bethlehem. Maybe we’ll go in there in the morning and look around.”

“Help me gather up our things here, Jacob. You know, after this season is over, I’m going to head back up to Galilee and take my uncle up on his offer to teach me fishing and to set me up with a fishing boat. I am getting really tired of sleeping outside on the hard ground every night, watching a bunch of smelly sheep.”

“That sounds pretty good, Zebedee, but I like being out here. I especially like it at night when I can watch the stars. Ok, I’ve got the food; let’s get back to the sheep.”

The two shepherds head back over several small hills to the small field where they had left their herd. Jacob looks back over his shoulder at the star that has captured his imagination, and Zebedee scans the horizon for any signs of Roman patrols.

“Jacob, why does that star fascinate you so much? After all, the night sky is full of stars. What is so special about that one?”

“I don’t really know Zebedee, for some reason it reminds me of the Lord’s promise to send the Messiah. You know, I heard from a passing caravan yesterday that there was a strange caravan of royal astrologers in the area from some country far away to the east. I heard they were here because they had been following a star all the way from their country. I wonder if it’s the same star. I’d like to run into them and ask them a few questions.”

“Sounds kind of crazy to me. No one believes any of that Messiah stuff anymore.”

“But don’t you remember all the prophecies from synagogue school? One of them talked about a star!”

“Jacob, come on! All of that stuff is just old, tired stories to tell the kiddies at bedtime. If God was going to send a messiah, he wouldn’t have let us get conquered by the Romans. If He exists, He’s off doing other things and has cut us loose to take care of ourselves. Come on, we need to get back to the sheep.”

“I don’t care what most people think, Zebedee. I believe the stories, and I think that star has something to do with them. I just have a feeling about it.”

“Great! Wonderful for you. Me, I just want to get back to the sheep and get some sleep. All this stargazing is depriving me of some well-deserved sleep.”

The two shepherds arrived back where they had left the sheep and begin laying out their sleeping gear and soon settle down for some sleep.

“Here we are, Zebedee. The sheep are right down there in that field all nestled in for the night, and we are here with them. Let’s call it a night. I sure wish that caravan from the east would come by here. I’d like to talk to those men.”

A couple of hours later:

Zebedee awakes. He hears something that sounds like singing. Then, his eyes are almost blinded by a bright light.

angel-shepherds

“Jacob, what’s that in the sky? It can’t be morning already.”

“What? What do you want?” He cups his hand over his eyes. “Wow! That is really bright!”

“I’m scared,” said Zebedee.

“ I am too,” replied Jacob.

A third voice speaks. The voice seems to come from everywhere.

“Don’t be afraid!”

“Who said that?” asked Zebedee.

“Is that you, Simon?” asked Jacob, in a shaky voice.

“Don’t be afraid!” the voice repeated. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds just looked at each other.

“Jacob,” said Zebedee, “remember all that stuff about not believing all those old stories?”

Jacob looked at his friend, smiled, and said, “Yes?”

“I’ve changed my mind. I do believe them now. ALL of them. Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and arrived just as the sun was coming up. After asking all around, they found Mary and Joseph in a stable with their baby boy, lying in the manger.

von_honthorst_adoration_shepherds_800x683

When they saw Him, they both went weak in the knees, knelt, and worshiped Him. They told Mary and Joseph what had happened to them, and they both were amazed.  

Afterwards, they told everyone they met what had happened and what the angel had said about this child and where to find Him.

All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished. Many came to worship Him as well.

 

Night Lights in the Forest – 5

Eryndir returned the look, opened his mouth partially as though he was going to say something, paused then turned and headed for the door saying, “Follow me”.
Emmy hesitated just a second, but Booger followed him immediately. She had to hurry to catch up.
Eryndir was heading down a long hall decorated with pictures of Elves in action against the same faeries that attracted her to the forest. At regular intervals, there were torches mounted on the walls that provided light. At first, Emmy thought they were lit with fire, but then she noticed that there was no flame. They just glowed.
The passageway they followed seemed to be twisting and turning and descending. Occasionally, they would go through sets of doors. After about ten minutes of quick walking, Eryndir stopped at a set of double doors that had metal hinges and framing. There was a lit panel on the right side with the outline of a hand.
Eryndir turned to Emmy, “Getting your sister Gigi back will be both hard and dangerous. Are you sure you want to go along?”
“Are you gonna try to stop me?”
“Me? Nope. If I read that look in your face right, wild horses couldn’t stop you.”
“Are right then, why are we standing out here?” Emmy impulsively put her hand onto the panel. It lit up, began to make a whirring sound and then, the doors clicked and began to open inward.
Both she and Eryndir backed up a couple of steps.
“Whoa!” they said in unison.
Eryndir turned and stared at Emmy, “That should not have happened! This door is coded to only open for high command staff and . . . and . . . the royal family.
Emmy shrugged, “Must be broken. I’m not even an elf.”
Eryndir looked at her. “Well, I’ll . . . report it to maintenance.” Then he pushed the doors open the rest of the way.
On the other side of the doorway was the biggest room Emmy had ever seen.

Night Lights in the Forest – 4

Emmy struggled to try to get out of the rope binding her but, it would not budge. Booger looked up at her, cocked his head to one side, whined weakly and lay it down on the floor again. He was also still under the enchantment that kept him from moving around.

Emmy leaned her head back against the wall.

Mom and dad are going to positively freak out when they get up in the morning, and I’m not there.

She pulled her feet underneath her and, with her back against the wall,  pushed herself into a standing position.

Excited voices and the sound of running feet once again filled the hallway, Eryndir burst into the room almost out of breath. Their eyes met.

“You’re as tall as I am,” he said.

“Yeah, I noticed that too,” she said.

“Look, the faeries caught another little girl. Younger than you. I think she knew you.”

Emmy flashed back to the memory of the screen door slamming and gasped, “Gigi!”

She strode quickly toward Eryndir and stopped with her face just inches from his.

“What did she look like?”

Eryndir tried to back away “S-s-s-sort of like you, only younger.”

Emmy closed the gap again, “What? Did she say anything?”

He backed away another step, “Yeah, she kept calling your name as she disappeared into the faerie vortex.”

“No! No! Not Gigi!” She turned and clenched her fists, “Frosted gollywinkles! She’s always following me, trying to do everything I do. This is all my fault.”

Eryndir reached out toward her, but Emmy staggered back to the wall, leaned her shoulder against it and began to cry.

Eryndir stood and stared at her looking lost and helpless.

After a moment, there was a tinkling sound, the rope around her began to sparkle slightly and tingle. Then it just dropped to the floor around her feet.

“Wow! That was weird,” she said through a sniffle.

“Uh, yeah it is. It freaks me out sometimes too. This time, I’m just glad. Are, uh, you all right?” He said smiling weakly.

Booger yawned, stood up and began nudging Emmy’s leg.

“Looks like Booger is ready to go somewhere, too.”

Emmy took out a tissue out of her pocket, blew her nose and then looked Eryndir straight in the eyes. “OK, now what do we need to do to get my sister back?”

Night Lights in the Forest – 3

Emmy awoke to the smell of dirt. Not regular dirt, but the sweet smell of freshly turned earth that she always associated with her mother’s garden in the spring.
Still tied up with her hands bound tightly to her sides but, otherwise unharmed, she looked around the room. It looked like a cave with wooden crates scattered around the dirt floor. The was also a door ajar with light streaming in around it from what might be a passageway, of sorts.
Struggling, she managed to sit up and lean against the dirt wall. She looked around and saw Booger near her, but sleeping.
“Booger,” Emmy whispered.
She nudged him with her foot.
“Booger!” she said, a little louder.
Booger looked up, whimpered and smiled weakly.
“Hey, boy! How are you feeling?”
Booger whimpered again and laid his head back down on his paws.
The door swung open, “So, you’re awake now are you?”, a male voice queried.
Startled, Emmy looked up and saw the outline of a figure standing in the doorway.
“Who are you and why was I kidnapped?”, she snapped.
“Kidnapped? We rescued you. Those faeries enchant people and make slaves out of them. The only way we could get you away from them was to enchant you in a different way and carry you safely to our underground stronghold.”
“But you, knocked me out, tied me up and hid me in this, this—dungeon!”
The voice chuckled, “Oh, yeah, sorry about that. Sometimes humans struggle a lot under that enchantment. We didn’t want to get anyone hurt while we were trying to save you and your dog.”
“Humans? What the heck are you? Aliens?”
“Ha ha, no way. We are an ancient race of elves.”
“You’re a what?” Emmy interrupted.
“We are elves, wood elves to be precise.”
“There are no such things as elfs or elves or whatever,” Emmy sputtered.
“And you are an expert on that how?” Eryndir countered.
“Elves only exist in children’s fairy tales.” Emmy responded with a laugh.
Eryndir crossed his arms and cocked his hips, “Those are literary elves. We are wood elves. Same race, different species. We don’t really claim them.”
Emmy rolled her eyes, “Yeah, right. So, you can please untie me now, Mister Elf — sir!”
“Look, I’m sorry, but no. Not for another half hour. That’s enchanted cord. It ties itself and stays tied for two hours. Sorry, you’ll just have to wait.”
“Ok, can you, at least, step into the light so I can see you?”
Stepping into the light was a boy that looked not much older than Emmy. He wore loose green pants, a dark brown shirt tied around his waist with a cord and what looked like knit stocking cap pulled down over his head so that it half-covered his ears.
“You know, I think we got off on the wrong foot. My name is Eryndir. What’s yours?”
“Emmy.” She stared for just a bit and asked, “How old are you?”
He smiled, looked down and shuffled his feet just a bit, “Well, that sort of depends on how you count.”
“What? How can you count differently than 1, 2, 3…”
“No, I mean what type of years you count.”
“Oh, well, that clears it up.”
“Ok, let me try it this way. How old is your dog?”
“We got him when I was a baby so, I would say 10 or 11.”
“Do you count dog years the same as human years?”
Emmy thought for a moment, “No, each one of ours is . . . umm, 7 of his.”
Eryndir smiled, “OK, I am an elf—”
“That has yet to be established,” Emmy interrupted.
Eryndir sighed and then continued, “and our years are like that only backwards. For every ten of your years, I age one elf year. I just celebrated my 14th elf birthday, so I am one-hundred and forty of your years.”
“But, you look the same age as me. How can you be a hundred forty? That’s crazy.”
“It’s not crazy, it’s just . . . ” Eryndir paused to look at his feet, “different.”
He took a step back, focused his eyes on Emmy again and crossed his arms, “You look familiar for some reason.”
“Yeah, you were spying on me before you kidna—rescued me?”
Eryinder shook his head, “No—look, are you hungry?”
Just then, the sound of many voices accompanied by the thud of running feet echoed down the hallway.
Eryndir turned and ran out of the room. The excited voices and thudding feet grew faint as they moved away.