Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Christmas gift to you

For Christmas, I wrote you a story. For those of you who might be interested in this sort of thing, I had Peter Gregson's recording of Spem in Alium on repeat while writing and editing it. (It's fairly extraordinary. If you like beauty, you'll want to listen to that version of the song.)

Merry Christmas.


Star of Wonder, Star of Light

“…and behold the star which they had seen in the east, went before them, until it came and stood over where the child was.” Matthew 2:9.

It is because of me that you were born. The felix culpa, the fortunate fall. Without my disagreement with your father and my resultant forcible change of address, there would have been no need of you.

Oh, I know that when the humans tell the story, the fall is that of Adam, that the sin is that of disobedience. It makes such nice symmetry that way, born a human to redeem fallen humanity. But humanity only ever behaved as it was meant to. The failure of obedience is no sin, it is growing up. And the purpose of a story is truth, not symmetry.

No, the important fall was mine. Cast down from Heaven for gazing too high, burning through space and time and star and morning as I fell.

Of course, without my fall, you never would have been required to die, in the particularly hideous and gruesome method of your chosen day. Felix seems an odd choice of word when one considers the consequences to you.

I would have made amends myself, had I been given the opportunity. Had I believed that there was something I needed to make amends for. Had I believed that bloody, violent death was the appropriate response to the loss of a friendship.

They call what happened between your father and me a variety of grand and impressive names. The War in Heaven in perhaps my favorite: so epic in its scope. But the rift between us wasn’t epic, it was simple. It was planned. This is a universe that was made in opposition: order from chaos, light from darkness, from the very beginning. There was nothing that was created without its opposite. There had to be an adversary, because your father existed. And he knew that.

If it hadn’t been me, it would have been some other, who loved him less well.

And so I fell, and became a scapegoat, blamed for a thousand smaller failings, lesser falls. I am like you in this, if in nothing else. But while I became a scapegoat, an easy excuse for everything from pettiness to genocide, you were born to be one, to be the bearer of burdens for the all of the sins of an entire people.

I honestly don’t know which of us got the worst end of the deal.

I mark the remembrance of your birth every year. Why should I not? I was your father’s best friend, before. It seems only fitting that I should acknowledge the day of his son’s birth, and its promise of redemption for all. For all.

Even here, I can hear the Unfallen singing. I join them sometimes. I sing, and I remember the night of your birth, and the part I played in it. Do you listen for my voice, where you are?

That night, I didn’t sing. Too far fallen to fill the sky with glory and praise. As angelic as it remains, my voice would have been a discordant note in that song. But I knew what was occurring, had known for some time. The birth of a god carries weight, pushes against the fabric of the universe in all directions.

Even if it didn’t, I would have known. I was the one whose failings were the proximate cause of your birth, after all. O, felix culpa. O, holy night.

And so, as my gift to you on your birthday, that first one, all those eons and ages ago, I repeated the action that necessitated it. I climbed higher and higher still into the heavens, wings straining as they beat against the clouds and ether, high enough to once again see the face of your father, the face of my friend. And then, mantling my wings tight to my back, I fell.

Through the night and sky and stars, bright as I once was, bright as my name.


  1. Thanks, Kat. That's a unique twist on the story; one worth pondering. Merry Christmas! Christ is born!

  2. I love it! Very smart and lyrical, very Kat. And I agree, it's food for thought.

    Did you know that the Dutch word for matchstick is "lucifer"? Makes sense, I guess! Hope you're enjoying the time "between years".

  3. ...haha, I meant to say that the Dutch use the word "lucifer" for matchstick, not that it's a Dutch word. Silly me. :-)

  4. Thank you, both. And I didn't know that the Dutch used lucifer as the word for matchstick, although I had seen it in older English texts. Very interesting.

  5. "The failure of obedience is no sin, it is growing up."

    I really loved this part, the one that started me thinking the most. That's no fiction, but simply a truth.


    (And hope your winter isn't as harsh or as long as it sounds.)

  6. Mr. Ruben - thanks for the lovely compliment.

    And for the good wishes about the winter. Unfortunately, the sad truth is winter in Minneapolis is long and hard and cold. So one of the things that I will be doing this year is looking seriously into options for moving.