The First Christmas Present

The man walked to the bottom of the stairs and yelled up to his wife.

“Honey! I need a present!”

The man’s wife yelled back, “A present? You want me to give you a present?”

He said, “No, I need to give a present. I’m going to this thing and I need to bring a gift. For a baby. Or for his parents. It’s not clear. But I have to get rolling; Bob and Pete are out front waiting for me.”

His wife came to the top of the stairs. She said, “So you want me to suddenly come up with a great present. Any reason why you couldn’t have given me more notice than this? Like maybe you could have mentioned this when I went shopping yesterday? Or — I know! — you could have actually gotten this yourself, instead of relying on me! Wouldn’t that have been the wise thing to do?”

He said, “I know, I know. I’m sorry! But honestly, I didn’t know until just now. Bob and Pete just showed up and said we gotta go, and I need to take a gift.”

His wife stared at him for a few seconds. “Alright. I’ll see what I can do. Who’s the gift for?”

“Like I said — a baby.”

“Whose baby?”

The man said, “I don’t know.”

She said, “Wait, you don’t know? And you’re supposed to bring a gift? What is this, some kind of Secret Santa thing?”

He said, “No, it’s more complicated than that. It’s just — we’re supposed to go see this kid and bring him gifts.”

His wife stared silently again. “I… don’t get it. I mean, what’d he do that’s so special that you have to bring him something?”

“Apparently he’s the son of God or something.”

She said, “Rrrrrright. And where is this kid?”

He looked sheepishly at her. “I don’t really know. The guys said we just follow this star, and…”

She interrupted, “A star? You follow a star? Can you not — just once — ask directions? Or at least get an address and take a map? It’s like a desert out there! You could totally get lost. This makes no sense.”

He said, “I know, I know. Look, I don’t know any more than what I’ve told you. But I have to go, and I need something to give the kid.”

His wife walked downstairs. “Alright, alright, let me think.” She paused. “Wait, you remember that thing we got from your parents last year?”

He said, “Oh, you mean the… what was it?”

She said, “Myrrh. It was myrrh.”

He said, “Right, that. And… what was it exactly?”

She said, “I have no idea. Which is why it’s been sitting on the shelf in our garage since then. Still in its gift bag.”

He said, “But if they gave it to us, are we allowed to give it to someone else? Isn’t that like cheating?”

She said, “Who’s gonna know? The present police? Look, you want a present. And I have a present. It’s even still wrapped in that bag. It’s perfect.”

He said, “Except we don’t really know what it’s for.”

She said, “Well, that’s not our problem — it’s his. And what’s he going to do, complain? He’s a baby!”

He said, “Okay, okay, fine. I don’t really have a choice, anyway; I’ve got to go now. Where is it?”

She said, “I’ll get it.” She went out to the garage and came back with a colorful bag. “Look, doesn’t that look nice? It’s even got pictures of balloons on the gift bag. Babies like balloons. I put a new tag on it; they’ll never know.”

He said, “Yeah, that’ll do. Thanks, hon. Okay, I’ll see you soon. I think. Depends on where that star is headed.”

Later, in a stable, a mother cuddles her newborn son. Her husband sits beside her, and the animals of the stable look over the scene, strangely calm silent.

The woman said, “Jospeh, what was that thing the third guy gave us.”

Her husband said, “I think he said it was ‘myrrh’.”

She said, “Murr? What is that? How do you even spell that?”

Joseph said, “I have no idea what it is. Here we are without even a room or a bed to sleep in and we’re getting presents like that. A crib would have been useful. Or maybe a hotel reservation for a night or two. Or a candle. Even a Starbucks card. But no, we get myrrh. Whatever that is.
“We don’t even have room for it on the mule. So now what do we do with it?”

She said, “Well, we’re visiting your parents this weekend. We should bring them a gift. Make a new tag for it. They’ll never know.”

Joseph said, “Myrrh it is. And maybe that fruitcake we got from the shepherd, too.”

Android and comedy. Not necessarily in that order.

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