My Christmas present to you:
Joyous in the Land of the Groanups
by Ken Bradshaw
Once upon a time there was a land whose inhabitants were called Groanups. They were called Groanups, because all they did was groan and grumble all day long.
And no wonder, because this was the time of the Groanin’ Empire. The Groanups were ruled by King Hatred. He hated everybody.
Living in that land was a lady named Merry. She was one of the few people there who was happy. When she learned that she was to be the mother of God’s Son, Merry and her husband, Jovial, were full of joy. When the baby was born, he was such a cheerful baby they decided to call him “Joyous,” at the suggestion of a Messenger of Good News.
Three wise guys came to see the child, and gave him gold, nonsense, and mirth. But when King Hatred learned about the child, he was angry. He did not want anyone spreading joy and hope among the Groanups, so he sent some soldiers to find and kill Joyous. But Jovial took Merry and Joyous away before the soldiers could find them.
When Joyous was a young man, he went all over the kingdom telling the Groanups to turn from their ways to be born again, and to become like little children. Then they would have sunshine and health in this life and the next. When he saw Groanups with especially heavy hearts, he would touch them and say, “Lighten up,” and they would be healed. That’s why he was called “the Light of the World.” God smiled on His Son and was pleased with him.
But most of the Groanups were not pleased. They were too set in their ways and did not want to become young and healthy and joyful again. King Hatred especially did not want anyone to be happy.
So the king and his Groanups seized Joyous and had him whipped. They put thorns on his head and called him the clown of thorns. Then to show the world how cross he was at anyone who would dare to spread joy in his kingdom, King Hatred had Joyous nailed to a cross to die.
But Joyous had the last laugh, for after he died and was buried, he came alive again. Many Groanups heard this wonderful news and finally believed that Joyous was really the son of God. They stopped groaning and became as children again. Then they went and spread the good news that whoever accepted the Spirit of Joyous would have life and laughter everlasting.