Director: “Cue music and…roll titles!” Camera one zooms from the tabletop centerpiece of candles and greenery. “And action!” Panning slowly right it comes to rest on a neat, blond woman standing in a beautiful kitchen. Camera one takes on a slow zoom.
“Good evening and Welcome to my Inn. I’m Martha Stewart. There’s nothing quite as satisfying to me as preparation for a holiday. There’s something especially exciting this evening, as we are live here in Bethlehem for what promises to be the event of the ages. I’ve prepared a sumptuous meal of herbed lamb, roasted garlic, toasted pita bread, and myrrhed wine. I’ve chosen the very best lamb from my flock, only my finest grapes (which were pressed under the feet of eunuchs and fermented for 36 months), freshly ground grains have been combined in just the right mixture, and only my premium garden herbs and garlic have been selected. It’s a meal fit for a king!”
Cut to camera two showing a bed of cut greens, a candle, and other trimmings on a simple wood table.
“At the start of my show you saw the beautiful centerpiece I created for this momentous occasion. Here’s how I did it…”
The manicured hands flash to work as a gentle Jewish lullaby plays softly in the background. Cut to remote cam outside in a humble stable. There a newborn infant rests on a bed of straw. Standing near the babe are a beautiful young girl and her husband. Silently they ponder the child.
Voice Over: “Earlier tonight, after my inn was quite full, a lovely peasant couple came to my door in search of lodging. I had nothing to offer them except my stable. She was pregnant and near her time. They had searched throughout the town, and it was the same all over—no room. I gave them what I had. Lucky for them I am also a skilled midwife.”
Cut back to the tabletop.
“This evening I offer you my very best in holiday décor and fine dining. And that’s a very good thing. Notice the cut of these greens—meticulously harvested at their peak and beveled just so. Now, take a piece of floral wire exactly one cubit long. Twist it firmly around the stem of the greenery and insert it into the floral foam at a precise 53.7 degree angle.”
Cut to camera two; a medium shot of our hostess.
“Detail and preparation are everything. Planning ahead is the key to any successful occasion. The couple out back could have easily sent a courier for reservations had they thought ahead. You’d never catch Martha off guard like that.”
Cut to remote cam.
“Notice the child’s fair mother, Mary. She is all wrapped up in her child, just as he is wrapped up in swaddling clothes. She is entirely unprepared for this festive occasion. She has neglected to make plans for the celebration and she and her family are missing out on the best the holiday has to offer.”
A slow lapse-dissolve brings us back to camera two.
“Unlike myself, she has missed the boat, so to speak. Now set the home cast candle, gently scented with frankincense, in the center of the greenery circle. There you have it—a fragrant royal centerpiece for the entire house to enjoy. Now on to the meal. Behold the lamb, without spot or blemish…”
Voice Over: “Now it came to pass…a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word, while Martha was busy with serving. She came to him, and said, ‘Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her to help me.’ And Jesus answered, ‘Martha, Martha, Martha, you are so care-full and troubled about many things, but only one thing is really needful: It is Mary who has chosen that good thing, which will not be taken away from her.’” (KJV Bible, Luke 10:38-42, paraphrased)
Have yourself a Mary Christmas!
Gregory E. Zschomler, of Cannon Beach, is the author of books for children and young adults.