Suddenly, there was an awful roar. It was a roar that shook the entirety of the house. The dishes in the cupboard rattled and quaked. The windows of the house vibrated, threatening to shatter out of the most terrible fright. The big beautiful fragrant Christmas tree, with its sparkling lights, swayed ominously, seemingly ready to topple with a mighty crash at the very next terrifying roar.
The dog cowered in her corner and the cats scurried away to parts unknown.
And the man chuckled...trying to pretend to be afraid but unable to maintain the deception for very long.
And the woman smiled and snapped a photograph. Then she put the camera down and advanced with hugging and kissing in mind.
James the Dinosaur Boy sighed impatiently and rolled his eyes as his mother kissed his forehead and told him how very cute he was. “No, Mommy,” he complained, his blue-gray eyes flashing exasperation, “dinosaurs are NOT cute!”
He shrugged off her hug and tried to find himself again. “And they do not get hugged!” he added resolutely.
James’ father laughed heartily and sat back in his favorite chair. “He’s got you there, honey,” he said brightly.
Undaunted, James’ mother stole another lingering hug. “But my little dinosaur boy IS so cute!” she protested, her eyes a-twinkle with maternal pride.
James the Dinosaur boy sighed again, a bit heavier than before, but resigned himself to the fact that his parents...for all their undeniable wisdom...would never understand the ways of dinosaurs like him.
He roared again and stamped his feet. But that was okay, he thought...he loved them both more than anything else in the whole wide world so if they didn’t really understand about dinosaurs (like him) well, that was okay.
James’ father got up from his favorite chair and came over and lifted his son up.
“Careful, Daddy,” James offered helpfully, “you really shouldn’t sneak up on dinosaurs like that...”
“Sorry about that, Dinosaur Boy,” his father replied seriously. “I’ll be sure to remember that next time. But right now it’s time for all good boys...” James rolled his eyes up and his father smiled and added, “...and all good dinosaurs...to be in bed.”
“Why?” James asked, struggling in his father’s gentle but relentless grasp.
“Because it’s Christmas Eve, silly,” his mother said with a warm smile. “And because Santa Claus won’t come if you’re still awake.”
James glanced at the collection of brightly-wrapped presents underneath the stately tree and shrugged. Santa Claus...James the Dinosaur Boy shook his head but didn’t bother to tell them that dinosaurs don’t believe in Santa Claus.
He gave up his struggle and allowed himself to be carried to his room. He was content in the knowledge that it was only because it was his parents...the only humans he would allow to treat him that way...that he had allowed himself to be captured. (Dinosaurs, of course, always ran free...except when it was cold outside and then they didn’t mind having their pajamas and hot cocoa and snuggly blankets and, truth to be told, even the occasional maternal hug.)
James the Dinosaur Boy endured being made to brush his fangs but declined the new “Star Wars” pajamas in favor of his favorite, well-worn “
He endured the kisses from both his father and his mother...though, of course, that mushy stuff tried the patience of a respectable dinosaur like him...and watching the lights go out while wondering what sleep would bring.
Christmas Eve or not, dinosaurs had dinosaur dreams, of this much he was certain. Santa Claus? James seriously doubted that Santa Claus knew anything about dinosaurs.
And then, slowly but surely, he slipped into sleep.
The world fell away and James found himself floating. This most certainly surprised him because he was certainly not a winged dinosaur. But he was nothing if not a boy who dealt with things as they came along and so he floated along content to wait to see whatever this journey was going to bring.
Suddenly he heard sleigh bells and the rush of a cool northern wind and, sure enough, he fell into a sleigh beside a fat, white-bearded man dressed all in red.
James the Dinosaur Boy, ever polite, nodded and said, “Hello, Santa.”
The old man, completely unsurprised by James’ sudden arrival, glanced over.
“Hello, Dinosaur Boy,” he said in a bright, kindly voice. “How are you on this fine Christmas Eve, lad?”
“I’m fine, sir,” James replied. “Though I’m not sure why I’m here.”
“To see the world,” Santa said without hesitation. “Even dinosaurs have to know that they are part of the world, of course.”
James the Dinosaur Boy, impressed by the old man’s understanding of dinosaurs, smiled and nodded. He looked down at the world below. The lights of the cities and towns were sparkling bright and welcoming as the magical reindeer pulled the magical sleigh.
“Everybody is part of the world,” he said, “even us dinosaurs.”
The old man laughed heartily...sounding for all the world like James’ father when he did so...and spurred his reindeer on. “Just so, lad,” he said. “Just so.”
They rode in silence for a while and then James said, “I’m happy to know that you’re real, Santa, but I really should be on my way...”
Santa arched an eyebrow. “Oh really? Where are you off to?”
James the Dinosaur Boy had no answer for him. “I’m not sure.”
Santa reached over and patted his head. “Good answer, lad. Maybe you should stay with me. Being an elf is a very good thing. Maybe being an elf on Christmas Eve is what you’re supposed to be now.”
James had to admit that the offer had its merits but he shook his head. “Thank you, Santa, but I don’t think that dinosaurs make good elves.”
Santa laughed happily again. “Maybe not, lad,” he said merrily. “But the offer is always open...” And with that, Santa began to laugh merrily and the sleigh took a deep plunge and James floated up and out of it.
“Merry Christmas, Dinosaur Boy,” Santa cried out as his sleigh disappeared down into the bright city below.
James the Dinosaur Boy waved. “Merry Christmas, Santa Claus,” he said to the wind, somehow knowing for sure that his words would reach the old man.
James floated higher and higher but he knew no fear (dinosaurs know many things but fear is not among them, of course.)
“Good evening, James,” a pleasant voice said suddenly and James turned to see a proud and beautiful eagle soaring alongside him.
“Good evening, Mrs. Eagle,” James said, recognizing his old friend. “I’m a dinosaur.”
“Of course you are, dear,” she replied pleasantly. “But where are you going on this fine Christmas night?”
“I’m not sure,” James admitted, “but I’m sure I’ll know when I get there. Where are you going, Mrs. Eagle?’
“Home to my family,” Mrs. Eagle replied, “Christmas is a time for families.”
“Even for eagles?”
“Of course, James,” Mrs. Eagle said patiently, “for eagles...and human beings...and even dinosaurs...up here you can see the world and know, for sure, that we’re all just a part of it...all of us important but no more important than any other part.” James nodded but said nothing.
“This is where I go down, James,” Mrs. Eagle said as they crested the mountains and headed over a lush forest. “Would you like to come home with me for Christmas. Being an eagle is a very good thing indeed. Maybe being an eagle on Christmas Eve is what you’re supposed to be now.”
James had to admit that the offer had its merits but he shook his head. “Thank you, Mrs. Eagle, but I don’t think that dinosaurs make good eagles.”
“Maybe not,” Mrs. Eagle said warmly, “but the offer is always open, of course.” And with that she turned and soared down towards the forest. “Merry Christmas, Dinosaur Boy,” she called behind her as she disappeared into the lush living forest.
“Merry Christmas, Mrs. Eagle,” James called out on the moonlight, knowing that his words would reach the beautiful bird.
James the Dinosaur Boy floated up higher and higher, the world becoming smaller beneath him.
“Hello, James,” a musical voice said. James turned to see a golden angel sailing down from the heavens towards him.
James, ever polite, nodded and said, “Good evening, Miss Angel.”
“Do you know why you’re here?” the angel asked.
“To see the world?” James offered.
The angel smiled. “You’ve already seen the world, Dinosaur Boy,” she said softly. “You’re here to see the universe,” she said pointing up to the star-flecked expanse of the endless sky. “We’re all a part of the universe...and the universe is a part of us...it’s all part of the grand design.”
James the Dinosaur Boy nodded...he understood, but he didn’t really understand. But somehow he knew it wasn’t important that he understand it all just then.
“Are you going to invite me to go with you?” James asked the angel. “Do dinosaurs make good angels?”
The angel smiled brightly. “Of course they do,” she said. “But no, it’s not time for you to become an angel...it’s time for you to head home, it’s almost morning and Christmas cannot begin until you are back there.”
And with that, James began to slowly descend back to Earth.
“Merry Christmas, Dinosaur Boy,” the angel called down as she began to rise back up towards the sky.
“Merry Christmas, Miss Angel,” James called out to a shaft of starlight, knowing that his words would reach up to the very heavens themselves.
James the Dinosaur Boy fell softly down...passing mountains and trees...cities and towns...countless souls waking to countless Christmas mornings...ending up, finally, right back where he started...in his house, in his room, in his bed...a dinosaur in snuggly blankets and “Jurassic Park” pajamas.
And then there was morning’s light and he was awakened by his parents on a clear Christmas morning.
“Hey, kiddo, gonna sleep all day?” James’ father said warmly.
“No, Daddy,” James said, rubbing his head and throwing off his blankets. He stretched and stifled an urge to roar.
James’ mother fussed with his hair and knelt down and kissed him. “And what is my little man going to be, today?” she asked.
James thought about it for a minute...sorting through all the things he could be and was...an elf, an eagle, an angel, an important part of the world, and a vital part of the universe, a little boy loved by his parents...and then he stretched again and smiled a shy, sly smile. “I’m going to be what I am, Mommy...” he said impishly. “...a dinosaur!”
James’ mother smiled and shook her head. “How silly of me,” she said, tickling his belly and making him giggle despite himself (dinosaurs usually don’t giggle, of course, but he could make an exception for Mommy.)
They all laughed and James’ father lifted him up off the floor and carried him out to the Christmas tree.
- for Jamie (always and forever my favorite dinosaur boy) -
More Christmas stories can be found here: Christmas Annex
A blog entry on Christmas music can be found here: Neverending Rainbow