De dingen zijn niet altijd wat ze op het eerste oog lijken. Hiv maakt ons niet tot wie we zijn. Wel hoe we er zelf mee om weten te gaan. En wie onze unieke persoonlijkheid niet zien kan, mist wat. Een inspirerend kerstverhaal van Paul Coelho (bekend van ondermeer ‘De alchemist’). Geschikt voor alle leeftijden en alle (on-)geloven.
A Christmas Story
According to an old and well-known legend, a week before Christmas, Archangel Michael asked his angels to visit the earth. He wanted to know if everything was ready for the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. He sent them in pairs, always an older angel accompanying a younger one, so that they could have a broader picture of what happened in Christianity.
One of these pairs was assigned to Brazil, where they arrived late one night. Since they had nowhere to sleep, they took shelter in one of the great mansions that can be seen in certain parts of Rio de Janeiro. The owner, a nobleman on the verge of bankruptcy (which, incidentally, happens to many people in that city), was a fervent Catholic, and soon recognized the heavenly pair by the golden halos on their head. However, he was too busy preparing a big Christmas, and so as not to disturb the completed decorations, he requested that his heavenly guests to sleep in the basement.
Although Greetings cards are always illustrated with snow falling,Christmas falls in the middle of summer in Brazil, the sun was scorching hot and the air, full of moisture, it was almost suffocating. The angels laid down on a hard floor, but before starting their prayers, the older angel noticed a crack in the wall. He got up, repaired it using his divine powers, and returned to his evening prayers. The two felt as though they had spent the night in hell, it was so hot. They slept very poorly, but they needed to fulfill the mission entrusted to them by God.The next day, they went through the big city, with its 12 million inhabitants, its beaches and mountains, its contrasts, its beautiful landscapes and its horrible places. They completed their reports, and when night fell back they began to travel into the country. But, distracted by the difference in hours, they again found themselves with no place to sleep. They knocked on the door of a humble home, where a couple came to meet them. Lacking access to medieval engravings that portrayed the messengers of God, the couple did not recognize the two pilgrims, but told the angels that if they were in need of shelter, the house was theirs. They prepared a dinner, presented their little newborn baby and offered his room to the angels. They apologized that they were poor and that while the heat was great during the day, they had no money to buy an air conditioner.
When the angels awoke the next day they found the couple in tears. Their only possession, a cow that gave milk for cheese, and support for the family, was found dead in their field. They quickly parted with the pilgrims, embarrassed because they could not prepare a breakfast.
While walking through the mud road, the younger angel showed his anger, “I can not understand this way of doing things! The first man had everything he needed, and yet you helped him by repairing his wall. Then with this poor couple, who received us so well and kindly, you did nothing to alleviate their suffering!”
“Things are not what they seem,” said the older angel, “when we were in that awful basement, I noticed there was plenty of gold hidden in the wall of the mansion, left there by a previous owner. The crack was exposing the treasure, and I decided to hide it again, because the landlord did not help those in need. Yesterday, while we slept in the bed the poor couple offered, I noticed that a third guest had arrived, the angel of death. He had been sent to take the child, but since I’ve known him for many years, I convinced him to take the life of the cow in its place.”
Remember the day that is about to be celebrated; since people didn’t give much value to appearance, no one wanted to take Mary in. But the pastors welcomed her, and because of that, they had the grace to be the first to behold the smile of the Savior of the World.