Many years ago, a great lord called Bula recognised signs in the heavens; signs that had never been seen before. These omens announced the arrival of the greatest King the World would ever know. Amazed by the prospect of such power, the rich lord decided to set off in search of this King, intending to put himself at the King’s service, and thus attain a position of importance in his future empire. Gathering all his riches, he formed a great caravan and they moved off towards where the signs indicated. But the powerful lord didn’t realise how long and hard the journey would be.
Many of his servants fell ill, and the good lord cared for them, expending great wealth on healers and doctors. They crossed such dry country that the inhabitants were dying of hunger, by the dozen. The lord allowed these people to join his convoy, and he provided them with food and clothing. They met groups of slaves that were so terribly mistreated that the lord decided to buy their freedom, costing him great amounts of gold and jewels. The grateful slaves also joined Bula’s party. So long was the journey, and so many people ended up joining the convoy, that when they finally arrived at their destination, only a small portion of the jewels were left; jewels that the lord had intended to be reserved as a gift for the great King. Bula then discovered the final sign: a great, shining star, rising up from behind some hills, and he headed towards it with the last of his riches. He walked towards the great King’s palace and came across many travellers, but against his expectations, few of them were noble, powerful people; most of them were shepherds gardeners, and poor people. Seeing their unshod feet, and thinking of what little use such a powerful King would have for his few riches, Bula ended up sharing the last of his jewels with these poor people. Without doubt, his plans had gone awry. Now he couldn’t even apply for a position in the new Kingdom. Bula thought of turning around and going home, but he had been through so much to get there that he didn’t want to leave without at least seeing the new King of the World. So he carried on walking, and saw that after a bend the road came to an end. There was no sign of palaces, soldiers or horses. All he could see was a small stable at the side of the road, where a poor family were trying to protect themselves from the cold. Bula was disappointed at having got lost again, and he approached the stable, intending to ask these people if they knew the way to the new King’s palace. “I bring a message for him,” he explained, showing them a parchment, “I would like to serve him and have an important position in his kingdom. On hearing this, they all smiled, especially a newborn baby who was lying in a manger. The lady in the stable held out her hand and taking the message, said: “Give me the message, I know him, and will give it him in person.” And she gave the parchment to the child who, to the sound of everyone’s laughter, squashed it with his little hands and chewed it, putting the parchment beyond repair. Bula didn’t find this funny. Realising that he now had virtually nothing, he fell to the floor, crying bitterly. While he was weeping, the baby’s hand touched his hair. The lord lifted his head and looked at the child. He was quietly smiling, and was such a lovely happy baby that Bula soon forgot his troubles and started playing with him. And there he stayed, almost the whole night, in the presence of the poor family, telling them of his travels and adventures, and sharing with them what little he had left. When dawn broke, Bula got ready to leave, bidding farewell to all and kissing the baby. The child, smiling as he had done the whole night through, grabbed the soggy parchment and stuck it in Bula’s face, making them all laugh. Bula took the parchment and kept it as a souvenir of that charming family.
That day he began his journey home. Several days later, remembering his night in the stable, he found the parchment among his clothes, and opened it. The baby’s saliva had left no trace of the original message. But right at that moment, while he was looking at the empty paper, fine drops of water and gold filled the air around the parchment and slowly came to rest on it. And with tears of happiness rolling down his cheeks, Bula read: I received your message. Thank you for coming, and for all the gifts you brought for my friends who you met on the way. I assure you, you already have a Great Position in my Kingdom. Signed: Jesus, King of Kings