Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Christmas Lights (10/30/08)
TITLE: Under a Starlit Sky
By Tammy Bovee
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Belashar leaped out of bed, leaving his sheets in a clump.
“Come to the rooftop!” said Alshazar, throwing Belashar his tunic and turban.
The night air nipped at Belashar’s neck as he ran up the stone steps following Alshazar.
“I did not wake you, no?” asked Alshazar breathlessly, as he stepped onto the rooftop.
“No” said Belashar, tripping over something.
“Careful my inventions!” said Alshazar looking contentedly across the rooftop littered with gadgets and gizmos.
“Sorry,” said Belashar as he walked over to the edge of the rooftop.
Alshazar’s expression changed, “Never mind that. Look,” he said pointing at a star blazing in the eastern sky.
“Let me show you something Belashar,” he said attaching a long golden cylinder atop a tripod. “Look, at it through this!” he said. Hunching over Alshazar put his eye on one end of the cylinder. “Is this not the star your books foretold?”
Pressing the cold metal eye hole against his brow, Belashar moved the rings to adjust the lens then shifted the instrument to the left, then right. “I have a corner!” he said. “I’m going to move this and… OH! I see the star! It is the star that was foretold!”
“Let me see it again!” said Alshazar stepping forward. But as Ashazar stepped he lost his balance and tripped over the tripod. “…My precious invention! Catch it!”
But all they could do was watch.
“Quick, down to the courtyard!” yelled Alshazar.
“What’s this?” a familiar deep voice boomed from somewhere in the dark courtyard.
The voice boomed again, “Is that Alshazar… and do I see Belashar also?”
The three wise-men greeted one another enthusiastically.
“But what is this?” asked Armadar, holding the ruined instrument.
“It’s what’s left of my invention,” said Alshazar sadly.
“Gold of course,” replied Alshazar.
“Better use a less pliable metal next time.” said Armadar.
“Now as chief scientist of the King’s metal works I can go melt this down for you now. Later we’ll cast another out of stronger metal.”
Armadar returned shortly with a warm bar of gold in hand. Giving it to Alshazar, he asked curiously. “What did your instrument do?”
“I invented it to look at the star Belashar keeps reading about” Alshazar said.
Alshazar looked at his friends, “We have seen it!”
“It is prophesied that this star leads to a King!” said Belashar.
“Well, then, let’s follow it,” said Alshazar. “We’ll form a caravan and depart tonight, following wherever the star leads!”
“Alshazar, can you tell which way the star is leading?” asked Belashar.
Alshazar pointed ahead, “This way…”
“We’ve traveled long in this direction,” said Belashar, according to my maps, Jerusalem is ahead. We shall go there tomorrow.”
Belashar maneuvered his camel down the crowded streets, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him (Matthew 2:2, NIV).”
“How strange no one knows,” said Belashar as he led the caravan down another street and through a narrow alley.
“You three… is it you who is causing this disturbance about a new king?” asked a soldier.
The wise-men looked at each other. “Yes, can you help us?”
“Follow me,” said the soldier. “The King is looking for you.”
Herod paced the dark patio; his long robes flowed behind him, “Tell me... What time did the star appear?”
Alshazar looked at his friends, “It was… about this time of night.”
The King searched the sky, and sighed. “Well, I cannot see this star but… and Herod paused for a moment, stroking his beard… “Go,” he said finally, “…and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him (Matthew 2:8, NIV).”
“There it is again… the star…it is resting over that house!” said Alshazar urging his camel to run. “Quickly, we’re almost there!”
When they arrived, they worshipped the child with great joy and presented their gifts.
“You gave the gold bar to him?” gasped Belashar, staring at Alshazar.
Alshazar looked up, “well, you gave the king your priceless frankincense.”
“…And I gave him my burial perfume, but …I think we all would like to have given more.”
The three men agreed as they urged their camels out across the hot desert sands.
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