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December 24th, 2012

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Words With The Big Guy

nbsp;              “Words With the Big Guy” was originally a gift to readers who bought my novel Storm Chaser last Christmas; this year, it was printed in the Christmas insert of the Albion New Era, Churubusco News, and Northwest News newspapers. The story was inspired by “Santa’s Spirit”, which I wrote in 2006 for the Christmas edition of my column, “Slightly Off the Mark”.

“Words With the Big Guy” features Beth Hamlin, a popular character from Storm Chaser and its prequel short story collection, Storm Chaser Shorts; but this story takes place before those events, so no spoilers. Merry Christmas!

WORDS WITH THE BIG GUY

nbsp;              Santa Claus stood in front of the Noble County Courthouse, checking the harnesses on his reindeer.

nbsp;              The real Santa Claus.

nbsp;              Across the street Beth Hamlin slid to a stop and grabbed her friend Kim’s arm. “Do you see what I see?”

nbsp;              “I thought we –?“ Kim followed her gaze. “Oh.”

They’d planned to go caroling after the Christmas Eve service – meaning they felt like singing at the top of their lungs while waiting for Beth’s brother to pick her up – but now paused in front of the hardware store, across the street from Albion’s Courthouse. Kim, her raven hair and black wool coat brightened with a layer of snow, stood open mouthed until she breathed in a flake that made her cough. “Very realistic.”Collapse )

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK

nbsp;          This being Christmastime, I thought it might be a good time to discuss Christmas. Yes, my mind does sometimes flow in logical, if obvious, directions.

nbsp;          Christmas is, again obviously, a celebration of the birth of Christ. Or maybe not so obviously. In fact, that might be one of the single most forgotten facts of the Christmas season, and in today’s politically correct world we’re often encouraged not to mention Jesus while marking Jesus’ birthday.

It’s kind of like celebrating Independence Day without mentioning Independence, or America, or powdered wigs. It’s a known fact that we beat the British army because that powder kept getting in their eyes.

On the other hand, experts say Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th at all: He was most likely born in the spring, which kind of fits the whole rebirth theme better, anyway. There were sheep being tended in the fields, for instance, which happens in the spring. In December, the sheep and shepherds tend to stay inside and sleep together. For warmth, I mean. That being the case, if Mary and Joseph had arrived in Bethlehem in December, the inns would have space but there would be no room in the mangersCollapse )

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