Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Heavenly Christmas

Miloi put his hand on his young son's shoulder.  The boy gazed out of the viewport at the planet as their ship ascended.

"It can be a magnificent place, Father," Shandriel said.

"Yes, my son.  It can.  Beautiful, vivacious, dangerous.  But all in all, magnificent."

Earth began to grow smaller as the Jidian ship rose.  A brown land mass dominated the center of their vision, but a planet with so much water couldn't avoid a tinge of blue at the edges.  Once the pilots got them to about four orbital lengths past the small planet's moon, blue, along with white wisps of the clouds, would be all they'd be able to see.

Shandriel turned his narrow head towards his father, red and yellow eyes focused on the ridges of Miloi's face.  The boy's robe shimmered in the starlight, but it was his eyes that held the greatest wonder.

"Father, I do not understand these humans."

Miloi had to exert effort not to snort at such an understatement.  Scientists had been studying this species for several centuries without understanding them.  Entire careers were spent on this enigmatic race.  However, that was a matter for another time, a time in which his son was older and further along in his education.

"In what way do you not understand them?"

"They appear a passionate people, yet they can be incredibly cold to each other.  They seem to seek love above all other things, yet their capacity for violence is beyond measure."

Miloi's cranial ridges waved as he took pleasure in his son's curiosity.  "You are asking questions scholars have since we first discovered this people."

As if he didn't hear his father Shandriel continued, "Take this season of 'Christmas,' for example.  Many who celebrate it claim it is about peace and goodwill, yet they argue over how to celebrate or even express it.  A group will bless each other with their 'Merry Christmas' saying, and then they'll show anger towards another group who looks at it differently, even if that group ostensibly shares the same basic spiritual values."

"Heady talk, my son," Miloi replied.  The ship was now at the orbit of the moon and gaining speed.  "Along with several other festivals, it's this time on their calendar that intrigues us most of all.  The spirit of the season shows the mark of maturity and grace, but they appear unable to hold it even for the day, let alone extend the feeling across the whole year."

"Have we ever thought of pointing this out to them?  Perhaps they need but the realization."

"Some have tried, but the attempts have been half-hearted.  The humans of old did not understand who or what we and the other races were when we contacted them.  Names such as angels, demons, and monsters have been used towards us.  The fear some have been met with has discouraged other attempts."

"But they appear more developed now," Shandriel argued.  "We could try again - their growth in reason should allow them to know us for what we are.  We can help them channel their passion and kindness away from violence and towards greater empathy."

"But that would retard their growth as a species, and it could be dangerous as well."  When Shandriel's eyes blinked, a gesture of confusion, Miloi continued, "They are not far enough along to properly focus their passion as a people, although they are getting better.  We have sometimes appealed to gifted individuals, while others rose to prominence on their own.  These individuals, whether influenced by us and others or not, have given rise to their great philosophies.  However, it hasn't occurred in a vacuum.  These people have made an appearance only when the people around them have been ready.

"Mankind's potential for growth is enormous, but so is it's potential for violence.  If they grow too quickly, their passion might be turned against us, and we would be forced to annihilate this world to protect ourselves.  Think then of the loss in the Universe.  What they can show us once they reach maturity might be titanic, but if unleashed too soon, it could be catastrophic."

"What makes us think such a paradoxical world can ever show us anything?" Shandriel asked.

"Their race is young, as the stains of violence and greed upon it mark it so.  However, they show great promise, as with this Christmas business.  Once you peel back the layers, the well wishes and peace it can generate once they get past the pettiness is profound.  If they can channel their energy into such compassionate and peaceful endeavors, they could be of great benefit to the whole of creation."

"If they don't destroy each other first."  Shandriel's gaze returned to the viewport and a planet that was now little more than a blue ball of haze against the rest of the stars.

"A tragic but potential outcome, my son.  If they can find a way to extend the spirit of this season past but one day of their year, there's hope.  Let's pray they do, for it would be a shame to see a race of such vast potential fade from us because they couldn't get past their own nature.  Or perhaps it is the other side of that nature that draws us so.  Either way, the future of it is undetermined as of now, and it will likely remain so for the foreseeable future."

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