By Elisabeth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted December, 2006
Summary: Lex Luthor pauses for a moment in his holiday celebration to review the irksome reason for the season.
Author's Note: In my spiritual journey this Christmas season, I have spent quite a bit of time quietly contemplating the meaningless of the season, as well as its meaning. As is often the case, my musings have been more fully explored in artistic expression. I chose Lex Luthor as the subject of my thoughts, since he is a man for whom outward appearances sometimes surpasses the substance in order of importance.
Sunset was as beautiful as always from his vantage point high on the penthouse balcony at Lex Towers. Lex Luthor surveyed the city with the superiority which was his due.
He glanced at his watch and frowned. The Christmas Gala had begun almost twenty minutes ago and yet his assistant had still not signaled him. It was Lex's custom to wait in his inner chambers until all his guests had arrived and were in the proper place so that his entrance down the spiral staircase could be witnessed and appreciated by all. However, despite its necessity, Lex despised the long wait.
"It's time," Mrs. Cox summoned him.
Lex pasted on his best smile and began greeting the myriad of faces in the hall. He was a master at shaking hands and making empty promises.
For the most part, the guest list mirrored the guest list from his birthday party last fall. Luthor was too mature to have a party every year, but this year had been a milestone—he had surpassed the age to which his father had survived.
Still when his birthday party arrived, he found himself no longer in the mood. So, after making himself known to each invitee, Lex slipped away from the crowd. His driver assisted him in taking care of business, the party giving him a ready alibi had anyone bothered to ask.
As far as he could ascertain, no one had noticed his absence. The irony was lost on Luthor. So what if the world partied and forgot about whose birthday it was. A man in Lex's position understood that at times the trappings were as important as the man.
Besides, that wasn't going to happen at his Christmas Gala. Luthor mingled until the final guest was gone. There was no way that the man of honor would be forgotten at this party.
All the arrangements had been made. Once again, Lex would be enjoying Christmas at his vacation home on the shore, Luthor Manor. His staff had preceded him to see to the decorating, cleaning and cooking. He required a fresh, well-tended Christmas tree in every room, with ornaments which matched the color scheme of each area. The smell of pine and cookies made the holiday scenes complete.
Mrs. Cox had also arranged for him to have an escort for Christmas Eve.
Several years ago, Lex had the misfortune to attend a Midnight Mass. At the time, he thought his appearance on such a solemn occasion would be good for his image. Instead, he found he wasn't sure when to kneel, when to sit, or when to stand. Even worse, the congregation had been required to sing, an area outside of his expertise.
Lex was accustomed to leadership. He was never out-of-control. He never followed others. It was unacceptable that he would be put in a position where he was unsure how to act.
And so, Lex made certain he was otherwise occupied every Christmas Eve. Last year had been a blonde, but this year he had requested a redhead. It was his own Christmas tradition.
Unfortunately Monique, as the redhead was called, turned out to be chatty. While a certain amount of conversation over strawberries and wine was enjoyable, the topic of conversation left something to be desired.
"What was your favorite Christmas?" Monique wondered.
And for once, Lex Luthor was unsure how to answer. He gave a well-oiled reply that satisfied the bimbo's curiosity, but the question still lingered in his own mind when the hour for sleep had long since past.
As had its follow-up, "What was your worst Christmas memory?"
"I find that dwelling on the negative does nothing for progress or satisfaction," Lex instructed her. "Wouldn't you agree?"
Still the thought that they were all kind of the same didn't set well in his night-time musing. This was intended to be the most wonderful time of the year. And yet, what did Luthor really celebrate?
2000 or so years ago
It was a long walk. Her back ached and her mouth was parched when the sixty mile journey drew to a close. And the physical strain of walking wasn't the only thing that made the young woman weary. It was difficult to be surrounded by the very women who were supposed to be her family, and yet who couldn't find a kind word to spare.
It had been like this ever since her pregnancy had been discovered. While she and her fiancÚ had told the truth, it had merely been laughed off…and worse.
The trip had been ill-timed, with her pregnancy nearing its close. But what were she and Joseph to do? When Caesar spoke, no exceptions were allowed.
So she found herself on this dreadful journey. Joseph had supported her as best as he could. But in a caravan the men walked in the front and the women and children followed. So here she was surrounded by Joseph's sisters, aunts and cousins who had judged her guilty of sins she hadn't committed.
When they had arrived at Joseph's ancestral home, the upper room had already been filled by older relatives who were more deserving of the space. Somehow, she imagined that there never would be enough room for the likes of her in his family's home.
Likewise, the inn was both pricey and overfilled.
And so, she and Joseph had found a place inside the shelter for the animals. It was damp and the smells were offensive to her oversensitive nose, but it would have to do.
In some ways, it was a blessing since it meant she and Joseph could be together. Both the inn and Joseph's home would have separated the men and women.
She would have preferred to have given birth surrounded by womenfolk. But there were few left who supported her.
So when labor came upon her, she wasn't disappointed to be left with Joseph, a man of character and compassion who had always supported her. Delivering babies was well outside his expertise, but they had managed.
It hardly seemed right to have left her son in the feeding trough, even though the hay was almost fresh and the baby was wearing clean cloths. Still, she and Joseph were exhausted, as was tiny little Jesus. He slept well in spite of the noises the animals made.
Mary was surprised when the shepherds had came. At first she was a little ashamed of her surroundings, but they hadn't seemed to mind the smell. They were probably the only ones around who didn't mind.
In the stillness of the night while Mary suckled her tiny one, she thought over so many things.
She remembered back to her nephew's presentation at the temple only a few months before. The whole town had turned out to celebrate young John's life. They had worshipped God and praised Him for the blessings of birth.
It was likely that she and Joseph would be alone when they presented their son in the temple. And while Jesus' birth was also a blessing—the angel said she was blessed among women—most of the people around her didn't see it that way.
Her mind passed from the angel's words to the shepherd's words and back again. The shepherds had worshipped Jesus as the Messiah. It was difficult to believe that her son would rule on the throne of David, and yet the angel had said it was true and so she believed it.
She wondered if people would remember this day in the years to come. Perhaps they would celebrate it as they celebrated her son, the one who would be the salvation of Israel and who would bring peace to the earth.
Luthor finally drifted off. This was silly, really. The holiday didn't really celebrate anything, so why should he lose sleep if he didn't remember which was his favorite.
Everything was meaningless. Meaningless.
The only things that mattered were success, power and money.