Joshua could clearly hear the shouts of the revelers, even though the windows were tightly shut against the cold.
The partygoers literally tripped over each other as they worked to make this the greatest celebration ever. Marquee lights twinkled gaudily around the doorframes, and the stockings were hung by the chimney with care.
“I wonder if they even know I'm out here?” worried Joshua.
He watched silently as the crowd settled down to their refreshments. They were the usual alcohol- and sugar-laden tonics, and Josh was pleased that he had brought some living water with him. His instinct was to share it with them, but he couldn't reach them.
“Wow! Look at that sunset!” exclaimed a young woman. A beautiful canvas hanging over the mantle had caught her eye, and the others marveled at its beauty.
Joshua couldn't help speaking into the night air: “They don't seem to recognize my signature; I painted that sunset!”
After what seemed like an eternity the food platter was set in front of the eager crowd, setting off a virtual feeding frenzy.
“Strange...” mused one of the guests half-heartedly. “All this tempting food here, yet I'm hungry for something else, something special, yet I'm not sure what.”
Just then Joshua, clutching the fresh bread he had brought with him, stood at the door and knocked. The gentle rapping was drowned out by the loud strains of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
“If any man hears me and lets me in, I will eat with him!” cried Joshua to no avail. His eyes grew misty.
Through the tears he could see a strange figure enter the room to the cheers and giggles of the partygoers. Joshua didn't know the peculiar stranger, whose beard was off-kilter and whose large bag of gifts seemed to mesmerize everyone. He doled out the presents and hastened away to who-knows-where, leaving behind the promise to return again next year.
The presents intrigued Joshua because of their glitter and lustrous veneer. He thought about what he had brought to offer these poor folks. If only they would look outside and notice him, he thought hopefully, he could give each one an indescribable gift. His thoughts trailed off...
Suddenly he was startled out of his contemplation by the mention of his name. He thought someone was calling for him, but one of the guests had just hit his finger with a hammer as he struggled with the “Happy New Year” banner.
Joshua knew how thrilled each one would be if the old things would pass away and all things would become new. “I'm the only way that can happen” he shouted to no one in particular. Perhaps someone had heard him. He waited and tried to get their attention one more time by knocking on the heavy wooden door.
Reluctantly, Joshua turned away and headed home. His father had sent him to his people, but they didn't receive him.
“My father won't be happy that I wasn't invited to the party!” wept Joshua. “After all, it is my birthday they're celebrating.”
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