My Imaginary Friend

When I was young I had an Imaginary Friend and I named him Ghosty.  I used to love playing Monopoly, I just couldn’t get enough of it.  When my sister and my brother got tired of playing this game with me, that is when I created Ghosty.  He was invisible to everyone but me.  I was not very nice to Ghosty, as I would cheat him because I enjoyed winning.  I got him to sell me his properties at a low value, so I could always beat him.  I understood that Ghosty was not real, but he was a source of comfort for me when I was young.  I ended up using him in my new book.  This story takes place in two parts and the first part is about Jesus being born and the second part is about Jesus and his friend Lazarus living in Egypt after Herod carried out the slaughter of the innocents.

At a dinner party, Martha the oldest sister of Lazarus cleared her throat and said, “I was there when the three wise men came to Bethlehem.  I was 6 years old at the time and my sister Mary was just three and Lazarus was just born, so they do not remember any of this.  In fact, this is how I met Jesus.  These men were all royal astronomers and respected advisers to their kings from the east.  Melchior came from India, Balthazar from Chaldea, and Gaspar was from Persia.  They all followed the same star which led them to Jesus.  They travelled here separately from their own lands and they met each other on the outskirts of Jerusalem.  They each came bearing gifts for a new born king.”

“The wise men loaded their camels with treasures, tents, bedding, food and water for their journey when they saw the prophesied star in the sky.  Eleven days after the star first appeared the three wise men all reached Jerusalem.  The wise men camped on the outskirts of Jerusalem, beside a hill where three different roads came together and merge into one.  Melchior arrived first from the road on the left and he already had a fire going and was getting ready to cook some food when Balthazar arrived from the road on the right.  Balthazar tried to greet Melchior, but they did not understand each other.  Melchior thought that Balthazar was dressed strange, but then since he was also a stranger in this land he thought maybe this was normal.  Melchior had put his meat on the fire while Balthazar was setting up his tent and then they both looked up to see Gaspar coming up the road in the middle.  Gaspar smiled at the two men and he pointed up in the sky at the miraculous star that stood in the sky, contrary to the natural movements of the heavens.  Although the wise men all spoke different languages, they soon found out that they all knew how to speak Greek.”

“Melchior said, ‘Our shaman Balaam predicted over 1400 years ago that a star would rise in the West and this will signal the birth of a great king.  I have been watching the stars every night for 10 years to see if any unusual light showed up in the sky.  When I saw this bright new star, I knew that I had to try and find this new king, so I could worship Him.’  Balthazar said, ‘I have studied the sky for years also and when this astounding star appeared, all the people of my country were greatly amazed and they went to my king to ask about this.  I was instructed to follow this wonderful star where ever it leads me and to bring gifts to the special place where it takes me.’  Gaspar said, ‘An angel named Gabriel appeared before me and let me know of a precious baby that was just born.  Gabriel told me that this baby was going to rule the world and that I should follow the star to find Him.  I asked Gabriel how I would be able to recognize this new born king and he told me to go where the star shines the brightest and there I will find the Lamb of God.  I have not rested since my journey began, I have hardly taken any time out to eat or drink, because I have been consumed by this wondrous star.’  Melchior said, you are welcome to my food and I hope we can all travel together the rest of the way.’   Balthazar helped Gaspar set up his tent, they all ate and decided to rest for the night and then make their way into Jerusalem the next day to search for the new king.”

“The next day the three wise men made their way into Jerusalem and the stopped at the palace where Gaspar who was able to speak Hebrew, asked Herod where the new king was.  Herod had no idea what they were talking about and he felt threatened by the talk of a new king taking his place.  The wise men said that they knew that they were close, as the star was almost directly over head.  Herod was troubled, so he gathered all the chief priests together and he demanded to know where this new king was to be born.  They responded that according to the scriptures, a king would be born in Bethlehem.  Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem and when they found the young child, that they should bring him word, so he could also go there to worship him.”

“The wise men departed and they neared Bethlehem as night approached again.  They stopped at my house because they heard my newly born baby brother Lazarus crying.  Gaspar spoke and introduced himself and his companions and then he said that Herod told them a new baby was here in Bethlehem.  I asked, ‘Did you come all this way to see my brother?’  Gaspar said, ‘I know we are close, but we are not here to see your brother, we came to worship the new born king.’  I told him of a place, where I had just seen a baby that was being cradled in a manger and several shepherds had stopped by to bring Him gifts.  Gaspar said, ‘That is it, the shepherds are the symbols for the Lamb of God.  Please show us the way.’  I took them to the place where the star was high in the sky, and as we got closer to the stable where Jesus was, the star shone brighter!  When we finally arrived by the new born child, the star lit up more brightly and it started twinkling in the sky to mark the place where Jesus, Mary and Joseph were staying.  They all took one look at Jesus and they dropped to their knees and praised God above.  The three wise men presented their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to Him.  The angel Gabriel appeared in front of Jesus and told the wise men that they should not return to Herod for he was not to be trusted.  The three wise men walked me back home and they told my parents that their son may be in danger and suggested that we should flee before Herod sent his soldiers to slaughter all the innocent babies.  I never saw the wise men again, but I became great friends with Mary and Joseph and they let me babysit for Jesus many times as our family ran into them on the road to Egypt.”

At the same party Lazarus’ younger sister Mary said, “I remember traveling with my family when we were fleeing Bethlehem.  We were almost at Hebron, when Martha yelled out for my dad to stop the wagon, when she saw Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus and their donkey.  My dad Mordekay pulled our wagon over and he introduced himself and my mom Liya and asked Joseph where he was going and if he wanted a lift.  Joseph said that he recognized my sister Martha from last night and then he introduced his family and said that they would be happy to accept a ride, as their donkey was heavily burdened down with skins of water, loaves of bread, blankets and a cage full of live birds.  Joseph told my dad that they were headed for Egypt, as he had a distant cousin there and that they planned on staying with him.”

“Joseph hitched his donkey up to the back of our wagon and he helped Mary and Jesus into the wagon and then he sat up front with my dad.  My dad told Joseph that we really did not have a destination and Egypt sounded as good as any other place and then off we went.  We lived in Alexandria just down the road from Joseph, Mary and Jesus for just over five years.  Jesus and Lazarus became best friends and they played together every day.  I hope my brother does not take any offence to this, but Lazarus was a strange boy.  He had an imaginary friend named Ghosty that was always with him.  My parents thought that Lazarus having Ghosty as a friend was a good way for him to express his feelings and practice his social skills, but I just thought it was odd.  Jesus said that He was able to see Ghosty and He was the only person besides my brother that would ever talk with him.”

“Jesus would often hold the door open for Ghosty and make sure that there was an extra chair at the table for him when Jesus came over to visit us.  One day Martha and I walked down into a field where Jesus and Lazarus were laying down on their backs looking up at the sky.  We asked them what they were doing and they said that they were watching the clouds change into different pictures and they said that we could join them if we desired.  I told them that I was not going to lie down on the grass, because it was probably full of bugs.  They assured me that the only bugs that were there were butterflies and they said that I should not be afraid of them.  Martha and I lay down in the field next to my brother, Ghosty and Jesus and we started staring up in the sky.”

“Familiar shapes began to appear and we saw animals and images that looked like faces in the clouds.  The clouds were moving quickly and they changed shape suddenly and they began to transform before our eyes and I said, ‘Can you see that turtle?’  Lazarus said that the clouds often change into transform into whatever we are thinking about and all that we need to do is concentrate to find the shapes that are being revealed.  Martha spoke next and she said that she saw a whale, and then Lazarus said that he saw an elephant.  Next Jesus told us that He could see the face of God looking down on us and we all looked up immediately to see this magnificent cloud in the sky.  We all saw God’s long flowing hair, His bushy eyebrows, His majestic beard, His beautiful smile and the Sun shining through the holes in the cloud that formed His eyes.”

“As this cloud passed over us, Jesus spoke and said, ‘Ghosty, where are you going?’  We all looked at Jesus and He told us that Ghosty left, because he wanted to be with God.  We looked up again and saw this wispy cloud soaring under the face of God cloud and Jesus said, ‘Lazarus and I will both miss you, but we understand why you have left.’  Lazarus never spoke about Ghosty again!”

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