Louis Castoria

Louis Castoria has been a volunteer journalist for over 20 years while maintaining his full-time employment as a partner in two sequential law firms. He served for twelve years on a nonprofit’s (Insurance Educational Association) Board, six of them as Chair. He is a 1976 graduate of the University of San Francisco (Valedictorian, Student Body President, and Editor-in-Chief of the USF Foghorn newspaper). His legal training was at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley (J.D. 1980). He is the founder of Coastal Literary Arts Movement and co-founder of Make It Main Street.

Poem

A VISIT FROM SAGITTARIUS

’Twas the night before Christmas, when here by the sea not a creature was stirring, except maybe me. Slumber escaped me, so deeply in thought: “Does Christmas have meaning? Is all this for naught?

“The cards and the presents, the stockings, the lights; they all seem so cheery, but also so trite. The world’s full of turmoil and hatred and danger. Is there room in our hearts for the child in the manger?”

When from the front yard came a boom just like thunder. I sprang from the bed and saw, to my wonder, one-seater spaceship and its little green pilot, who just stood there shivering; his ears turning violet.

“Excuse the intrusion,” he said with a bow, “But I’m cold and I’m hungry, and became lost somehow.” I brought the chap in, and, lest he expire, I served him some green chile stew by the fire.

And when he had eaten he asked, “I assume there’s a reason you have a big tree in this room?” I said, “Cause it’s Christmas. We do it this way. We yearly give presents and have a feast day.”

He seemed more perplexed. “But you haven’t said why.” “It’s simple, yet complex,” I said with a sigh. “A long time ago in a land far away, someone gave a gift to all people, they say. It wasn’t a package, a box or a gift bag. It didn’t have wrapping, a card or a price tag. And many believe, though you may think it odd, that the gift was so great that the giver was God, who gave us a present beyond any worth: quite simply, the secret to have Peace on Earth.”

“On Earth? Is that all?” asked my little green guest. “Just one tiny planet? Will it work for the rest? We also have fighting and killing, you see. Will this secret help little green people like me?”

It was a tough question. I paused to consider. Is Christmas just Santa and shopping and glitter? “I guess that depends what you do with it, friend. We’ve not done too well, so don’t follow our trend. In 2,000 years we’ve not gotten it right. We fight and we lie as we sing ‘Silent Night.’ Our people have strayed, and I say this with shame, that we’ve even fought wars in the gift-giver’s name.

“But you may do better if you apprehend it, so I’ll share the gift freely, as the giver intended. He sacrificed all to teach us what to do: ‘Love one another, as I have loved you.’”

“That sounds very simple,” the spacer replied. “Can that really work? Has it ever been tried?” I said, “Yes, it has, and here is the key: ask “How may I help?” not “What’s in it for me?”

We talked for a while, then he had to be going. He plotted his course and his ship began glowing. He said, “Thanks for the food and for sharing the gift. I’ve much to consider,” as the ship started to lift.

But I heard him exclaim as he rose in the air, “Happy Christmas to all! And spread Peace everywhere.”

Copyright © by Louis Castoria. Used with permission of the author.

Civic Engagement

Founder, Coastal Literary Arts Movement, a nonprofit, public benefit corporation based in Half Moon Bay, California whose purpose is to foster a wide variety of literary endeavors, including local reporting, authorship, theater, film, student journalism and most any other verbal expression.