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On The TwelfthDay of Christmas, night fell. A mighty Chinook wind had blown through over the eleventh night, stealing away most of the snow. Squirrels had for days been purposefully pulling huge leathery oak leaves from the layer I’d left protecting the gardens from the winter; extra nest insulation against the coming Polar Vortex bitter cold. I do not know how they know it’s coming.

The TwelfthNight isn’t about the second coming, but the first one; set aside for the feast celebrating God becoming man, not man becoming God-like.

I suppose the need for pants counted as one of the first things God noticed upon becoming man. Greek Gods were dedicated tunic-wearers, perfectly respectable wear for cloud-lounging, but a tad flappy-openy for a world where Polar Vortices can descend without warning anyone but the squirrels. The FirstPants were reportedly swaddling, little better than diaper, but over time, GodAsMan’s taste matured to include fine woolen gabardine, possibly due to the early influence of shepherds, which some said witnessed the transfiguration itself.

I can imagine a raft of what we might consider remedial skills training came as GodAsMan integrated into an Earth-bound existence, much of which could have been received at a community college to avoid the expense of a four year school; but GodAsMan couldn’t just move into the folks’ basement. God didn’t have parents.

Perfect knowledge wears much better on the heavenly plane that it ever has here. Man considers sublime prescience a mere squirrel trick, preferring the weaker projection supported by intimidating mathematical calculations, a learned limitation not part of God’s inherent talent profile. Anyone demonstrating divine prescience opens themselves to a social stoning ritual sure to damage the crease in even the best pressed gabardine.

GodAsMan had to learn the social order, the local customs, because nobody appreciates any high and mighty outsider imposing his customs upon the neighborhood. He’d have to assume some role more acceptable than the creator of all things. People want to know what you’ve done lately, the details of your current project, and what you intend to leave as a legacy, and never appreciate somebody boasting about what they once upon a time before time accomplished. The landlord’s gonna want to see a current pay stub.

I could continue for weeks with the complications confronting GodAsMan. Believe me, pants constitute among the least of them. On this day, though, I reflect on the awful cost of man emulating God, the opposite, it seems to me, of epiphany; the converse of wisdom. I figure if man was good enough for God to become one, there’s little gained from trying to reverse that course. Man’s used to wearing the trousers and would find a tunic existence a bit breezy for his taste, even if that breeze came with omniscient power and the option for glory on feast days. Man seems poorly suited for any heavenly existence. We’re much better adapted to terra firma.

Every Christmas season replays more than those familiar old songs. A pattern of existence perhaps as old as oak trees repeats itself, wherever the culture, whatever the practice. We anticipate an event and diligently prepare for it. How we know this event might be arriving varies, but it involves more than opening the paper to find your lap filled with glossy department store advertisements. The ads themselves are evidence of a deeper yearning, a more subtle foresight worthy of any squirrel but somewhat surprising, almost God-like, when it appears in a huMan.

Cynicism seems a necessary part of the human experience, but few—perhaps no one—exhibits cynicism when pursuing this mysterious imperative. We gather together as family, as if family, to witness God transformed into man, an event so subtle and unlikely that it takes until a week and a half after the advertised date of Christmas for many to realize what just happened. The first coming. Again.

On the TwelfthDay of Christmas, night fell as a cold wind indistinguishable from reality overtook the world. It became a noisy night, filled with the sounds of people once seeking perfection.

The tree had not been quite plumb. Half that string of blue lights would not illuminate no matter what we did. A large turkey carcass, rendered to stock, and a few odd crumbs from the neighbor’s cookie delivery remain. Empty boxes and torn wrapping paper filled the recycling truck, and the squirrels, the inhumanly prescient squirrels slept tucked up warm beneath a blanket of large, leathery oak leaves.

Wisdom seems to require having no idea how any of us know, then putting on the pants anyway.

©2014 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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