|credit: Flora Waycott|
Have you ever read Jostein Gaarder's books? I know this might not be eligible to be called "classic", but is there any specific rule, anyway? I say, Gaarder's The Christmas Mystery deserves to be considered "classic", and I am so fascinated by its beginning, that I decided to post each chapter each day to Christmas Eve. Why? Here's why...
The Christmas Mystery is about a boy called Joachim who found an old beautiful Advent Calendar in an old book store. I never knew there is "advent calendar", but it's a sort of cardboard with 24 cut-out "doors", that when you open each door, it will reveal either a different picture or plastic figure, just like this:
It is no doubt to introduce the true meaning of Advent to children - the hope and joy of waiting for Christmas. Why did I never get this when I was little?
Anyway... Joachim's calendar is a Magic Advent Calendar, and on the 1st day of December he finds inside the first door of his calendar: a picture of a toyshop with a little lamb and a girl. But there is something else... a folded paper which was hidden there had fallen to his bed. A story is written on it, titled: The Lambkin - and that would be the story for 1st day of Advent.
But before revealing the story (within the story), I must note here what the store owner had told Joachim about the old magic calendar. That a mysterious man called John, a roses seller, often comes to the store asking for a glass of water, which he often pours over his head. One time he put a picture of a young woman with inscription: Elisabet in the window. Do you see what Gaarder is doing here? He will tell the REAL advent story, through the fictional advent calendar (and perhaps parallel with the main story).
Back to Joachim's hidden story. It's about a little girl, Elisabet Hansen, accompanying his mother Christmas shopping at a department store. From a toy shelf, a little lamb toy falls down the floor and becomes alive. It runs out of the store, and Elisabet chases it away because she wants to stroke its fur. While running, she also realizes that time moves backward:
"Perhaps the hands (of the clock) had become so tired of going in the same direction year after year that they had suddenly begun to go the opposite way instead."
The runaway lamb from a department store suggested escapism from worldly business of Christmas: "Perhaps the reason the lamb had come to life and run away from the big store was that it could no longer bear to listen to the cash registers and the talk about buying and selling". It also reminds us to focus more on the true value of Christmas, and what Advent truly is - a journey to welcome Jesus.
Can't wait for Day-2, what story and inspiration will we get? Will John appear inside the story?