This year, the Senior Editors, in their infinite wisdom, decided to collaborate in presenting you all with a tale based on the familiar Christmas (Cookie) Story. Because they rewrote this account in a modern day setting, the Senior Editors have taken some liberties with a few of the details of the story for comedic effect. They have created this tale to make you laugh, and also to remind everyone how bizarre yet truly miraculous the Christmas story really is. Wishing everyone a very merry (and cookie filled) Christmas!
“Hey guys, what’s up?” Balthazar tapped away on his phone screen. Sitting in front of his desk, the teenager was supposedly “studying for midterms,” but like most students, he was also a professional procrastinator. Impatient for a response, and wondering if his buddies might actually be studying, he flipped through stacks of text messages. Their group chat was titled, “The Three Wise Guys.” While some people believed that they were only Wise Guys in group chat name, and despite their frequent shenanigans and apparent inability to use their time wisely, they often reminded themselves (and their parents) that they still had fairly strong B minuses in their AP Calculus BC class.
“Hey,” Caspar finally texted back. Balthazar squinted at the tiny text, guessing the meaning behind this cryptic response. Since they were online friends, it was sometimes difficult to tell what the other person was really feeling through the barrier of their electronic screens.
Pondering the depths of his friend’s soul, the teenager looked out the window at the dark, night sky. Suddenly, a burst of light flashed near his window. Balthazar blinked. “Woah, something strange is happening outside,” he typed the group with deft fingers. A few seconds later, Melchior came to life from his side of the world. “Weird! You saw that too? It almost looked like a new, really bright star appeared.”
“It’s daytime over here…oh wait…what is that?” asked Caspar. From their respective rooms, each of the boys momentarily put down their phones to stare at the twinkling orb.
“Guys, this is gonna sound really…uh…weird,” Melchior texted. “But bros, we gotta go follow dat star.”
“Woah, woah, what?” Balthazar texted back. “The wisest thing to do is ask Siri about it before we do anything crazy.” Shaking his head at his apparently “wise” friend, Balthazar held down the home button of his iPhone.
“Hey, Siri!” Balthazar called.
“How can I help you, Bazzie?”
“Ugh, don’t call me that!”
“I am sorry, but I cannot consider your request right now, Bazzie.”
“Ugh, Siri, what is that bright yellow object outside?” He waited for an answer, holding the phone close to his ear.
“The big yellow object is the sun. It is a nearly perfect sphere of hot plasma with internal convective motion… ”
“Ugh, no, Siri! The other bright thing! The thing that just appeared! It looks dangerous but beautiful.”
“Currently, the sun is not a threat to human life. However, it is important not to look straight at the sun as it may cause serious damage to your retina resulting in permanent…”
“No, Siri! You know what I mean! What is it?”
“I am sorry, but I cannot consider your request right now, Bazzie,” Siri replied, sounding almost pleased to be of no use. Balthazar wanted to punch the know-it-all robot, but instead satisfied himself with screaming, “YOU’LL DIE EATING A FISHHEAD SOMEDAY, SIRI.” After cooling down, he turned back to his group chat.
“Guys, Siri is useless as usual.”
“Big surprise,” Caspar and Melchior replied simultaneously.
Suddenly his screen flickered and Siri came back on. Belthazar stared at his phone, poking it to make it go back to Google Hangouts. The robotic voice of Siri suddenly came on, louder than usual and echoing around the small confines of his room.
“I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob…”*
He stared at his phone, holding it far away from him now, utterly creeped out about this new prophetic-sounding Siri.
“Guys, I think Siri’s completely lost it!”
“What did she say, Bazzie?” Caspar replied, sniggering.
“She said something about…well… a Star out of Jacob? Or something. Sounds crazy if you ask me.” Belthazar said, too confused to be annoyed with his friend. He stared outside at the strange star, which had only grown brighter during their conversation. “Can you guys still see it?”
“Yep,” Caspar and Melchior both replied.
Pausing to reflect on Siri’s utterings, Belthazar felt pressing curiosity welling up within him. He didn’t know why, but he needed to know more about the star. Typing again, he said, “Guys, I know this is crazy, but I can’t help wanting to know what it is. Maybe we should…um…follow it?”
“Dude, that’s what I said already,” Melchior said, accompanying the text with an annoyed emoji.
Ignoring him, Belthazar said, “Guys, let’s meet up and figure this out. Where is the meetup point that would be directly in between all of us?”
“Um, Siri says Wichita, Kansas is the closest to each of us,” Melchior texted.
Belthazar stood up and began fumbling around in his closet for a backpack. He was going to meet his friends for the first time ever…in Kansas, of all places.
A week later after somehow miraculously convincing their parents to let them travel unaccompanied to Kansas to follow a star in the sky, the three teenagers met up for the first time. Belthazar felt slightly dazed from the excitement of finally meeting his three best buddies. Moreover, he was still double-taking at the large man bun Melchior was sporting. Mental image shattered, he thought.
“Guys, I can still see our star thingy,” Caspar said, shielding his eyes while looking up at the sky.
“I don’t understand why no one else seems to see it, but yeah, I do too,” replied Melchior.
“Ok, my dudes!” Belthazar said. “Let’s go follow this star. It seems a lot brighter here for some reason.”
The Three Wise Guys set off in pursuit of the star. Strangely, the star seemed to be moving, leading them closer to some mystery destination. Backpacks over their shoulders, they stared at it, intermittently squeezing their eyes shut since their twinkling guide was getting brighter.
They rounded a corner, wandered through a field, and an auto parts store came into view. No sooner had they set their eyes on this glorious auto parts store, then the star came to rest, right above the shop.
“See, I told you this would be lame,” Caspar said.
Slightly disappointed and arguing in low voices, the three boys stared at the “lame” auto repair shop, wondering what it was that they were supposed to do. Just then, a young woman came out of the house next door, holding the hand of a baby who looked about three-years-old. The baby looked up at the star. He could see it. But how?
Belthazar blinked. Something told him that maybe this wasn’t as lame as Caspar thought it was. Sometimes Caspar just wasn’t as wise as he professed to be. While his two friends continued to argue in angry whispers, Belthazar walked up to say hello to the woman.
“Hello,” he gulped, staring at the baby. He was never shy. What was wrong with him? Great job, Bazzie, he could hear Siri saying.
The young mother looked at him, puzzled.
“Uh, I was just wondering why your…um…son can see the star too? We followed a…star here.”
“Star? What star?” the mother asked, looking slightly nervous.
The little boy was pointing at the star, which was blazing brighter than ever.
“Oh wow, I can’t believe I never noticed that,” she laughed. “It’s been a crazy few years. Do you boys wanna come inside? We have cookies.”
“Cookies?” Melchior and Caspar piped up in unison, forgetting about their argument.
“Yes,” the woman said. “We have awesome cookies!”
“Mm, these are delicious,” Caspar munched once they had seated themselves inside the humble abode.
“So what’s your story?” Melchior asked, mid chew. Belthazar punched him, rolling his eyes.
“Funny you should ask, actually,” the woman smiled. She then proceeded to tell them the strangest story they had heard in their lives, involving something about an angel, having a baby in an auto repair shop, and raising the Son of God. But although it sounded ridiculous, the cookies were so good that Caspar, in a sudden flash of wisdom, figured anyone who made cookies that well could not be lying. Oh wait, he pondered. This makes sense now….Siri’s prophecy, the star, our travel…maybe we were supposed to come here. Belthazar stared at the little baby playing quietly on the floor. This was a particularly well behaved baby. Though this was the most bizarre thing he had ever heard about, it all seemed to check out.
Then in a moment of inspiration, he said, “Hey, can we come back in an hour? I need to do something.”
“Of course,” she said.
Belthazar dragged his friends away from the cookies. At the local King Soopers, he told his buddies that they should get some extra cookie making supplies for the special baby. Scrounging for every last dollar they had, the Three Wise Guys selected the choicest peppermint extract, almond extract, and chocolate to be found and then rushed back to the little home next to the auto parts shop to present their gifts.
Several hours later, Belthazar, Caspar, and Melchior left the little home with hearts full of hope (and stomachs full of cookies), minds buzzing with everything they had just seen.
*Reference: Numbers 24:17