The Greatest Fairy Tale

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Of all the seasons of the year, Christmas brings out the most emotion. For some, it’s simply a holiday from normal life. For others, it’s a time to party. But many find this to be the loneliest time of year.

However, for all of us it’s an opportunity to re-examine and perhaps discover that Christmas is the most significant event in the history of the universe. It’s a story with a happy ending.

As children, most of us revelled in fairy tales. How well we remember those unforgettable lines: “Once upon a time in a land far away…” Immediately we were drawn into a wonderful world of make-believe, of enthralling castles, princesses, fairies, and dragons. Anything and everything could happen—and did.

But these are only stories.

Or are they? What if these stories were true? If so, that would be the greatest fairy tale ever told.  

Once upon a time in a land far away there lived a beautiful princess and handsome prince. Their kingdom was a place of extravagant beauty, with tumbling waterfalls, sparkling streams, stingless bees, cottontail rabbits, and woolly sheep. Everyone and everything could talk and sing, from the smallest beetle to the tallest tree.

The prince and princess were the keepers of this place of bliss. They were madly in love. For them, it was sheer joy to tend the kingdom’s beautiful gardens. Because they spoke every language and dialect, they were given the special privilege of explaining to their fellow subjects what made them special. Their encouragement filled the kingdom with the presence of the king, their adopted father.

When the king went walking with them at nightfall, they would tell him of their day and he would tell them how pleased he was. He didn’t want them to address him as “King,” but rather as “Father.” To know him as king was to know only his power, but he also wanted them to experience his love.

One day, a dragon crept into the kingdom. By his gentle demeanour and incredible beauty, the dragon won the hearts of the royal couple. He suggested that although their father’s love was well intended, it held them back from exploring their full creative potential. If they were willing, he would serve them a delicious meal that would empower them to rule on their own terms.

The two mistook his sweet words for truth, so they partook of the poisoned supper. The effect was immediate. A chill swept through them and the rest of the kingdom. The fairies said that never before had they seen such agony and pain, nor heard such desperate screams. Enmity and distrust replaced the kindness that had prevailed.

The king, knowing something dreadful had happened, went looking for his adopted children, for they hadn’t shown up for their evening walk. He found them huddled together, ashamed, afraid, and in shock. They reluctantly told him what they had done. He shared the consequences they had brought upon themselves, but he also made a promise to someday send another prince to break the evil spell.

As the years passed, the people of the kingdom often repeated the promise of the coming prince. Some stopped believing in the story altogether.

Unbeknownst to anyone, however, the king had a trueborn son. He sent this son into the kingdom in disguise as one of his subjects—the son of an unassuming peasant couple. Only the couple knew that this boy’s real father was the king. 

Once the trueborn prince had grown up, he revealed himself as the promised prince and confronted the dragon. To everyone’s shock, the prince was felled by the great beast—but then he surprised everyone again by rising, overpowering the dragon, and breaking the spell.

The followers of the prince travelled far and wide, proclaiming that the stories had come true. This good news was believed by many, and it turned the kingdom upside-down.

Perhaps it’s true that only children can believe such a fairy tale, but the prince has said that only those who choose to become like little children can enter the kingdom of heaven. Children alone are able to recognize this story for what it is: both the truest and the greatest fairy tale ever told.  

May your days be merry and bright! Or, to put it another way, may you live happily ever after. Merry Christmas!

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