The Five Spades of Christmas

A short story by David Schell

What you are about to read is entirely fictitious. Okay, not entirely. The parts that are historical are historical. The parts that aren’t obviously biblical are entirely made up.


I heard this legend from a friend, who heard it from a friend, who claims he heard it from a monk friend of his, who heard it from an archbishop, who found it in a really old scroll that claimed to have been written by St. Augustine in some monastery in Turkey. I’m inclined to believe that this is a true story. I’ve taken a little artistic license with it, but the details remain the same.


Everyone knows that the Romans built roads. But hardly anyone remembers the Romans who actually built those roads. This particular Roman’s name was Claudius. No one really remembered how Claudius got on the road-building gang. Claudius barely remembered it himself. But that is hardly important. The soldiers watching over the diggers and making them work were tired, but they kept going through the early night.

Claudius was exhausted. He stopped for a breath, and one of the soldiers shook his head and started walking toward him with a whip. Then the soldier stopped. Froze, actually, one foot still in the air. Continue reading “The Five Spades of Christmas”

Hope’s Cry

His name was Ariel. At least that’s what I’m going to call him. I don’t know if it’s a historically accurate name, or a Hebrew name, or if it was even HIS name, but that’s what I’m going to call him.

He wasn’t the littlest shepherd, or the biggest shepherd, or the anything that ends in -est shepherd. He was just Ariel. And Ariel had had quite a shock the other night when the angels sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” With the rest, he had run to find the baby in the manger wrapped in cloths. He had stopped long enough to recognize the sacredness of this moment. The birth of a baby, though routine, was also something sacred, and it always made him stop. But this one… this one was different. He didn’t look different. No halo appeared over his head, and when he’d awakened and cried, he cried just like any other baby.

“So you’re Messiah, eh?” he’d asked. “You’re gonna have to get a lot bigger than that before you can take on Rome, kid.” He’d smiled at the boy’s mother.

“His name is Yeshua,” she’d said.

“Our Lord saves. A good name for a Messiah.” And with the rest, he’d spread the news of what he’d seen and heard.

But now it was the day after. Continue reading “Hope’s Cry”

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