There has been an amazing manuscript discovery this Christmas Eve that has Christmas lovers everywhere puzzled. (Manuscript content published below.)
The manuscript was discovered in the attic of an old seminary library. Dating methods indicate recent origin: sometime between 1992 and 2014. Evidence appears to indicate the author is a Southern Baptist, and most likely a president of a Southern Baptist seminary.
This has generated a scholarly scramble to determine just who among the six Southern Baptist seminary presidents may have composed this unusual Christmas piece.
Some, based on the sesquipedalian vocabulary, the use of such lexical items as “incredulous” and “diminutive” in stanza three, which are among his favorite expressions, and the phrase “clad in animal pelts” in the same stanza, have speculated that the author is none other than that jolly old Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president, Dr. Paige Patterson.
Others think they detect the hand of the new president at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Jason Allen. Several reasons have given rise to this suggestion; among them: 1) Everyone knows that “Allens” are always brilliant and creative people; and 2) the reference to “recent crystalline precipitation” in stanza three fits very well with Kansas City around Christmas time.
Still others have concluded that the most likely candidate is Dr. Chuck Kelley, president of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Factors that tend to implicate Kelley include the visual imagery similarity to Mardi Gras and the reference to “street vendor” in stanza four, all perhaps pointing to a Louisiana provenance.
Some scholars are suggesting the redoubtable Dr. Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is the penman, based on the precise internecine logical connections and pristine symmetry in the poetry, coupled with the possible hidden artistic signature in the use of the Latin abbreviation “et. al.” in stanza three.
Another cadre of inspectors speculate that the poetic genius is the “Georgia Peach,” Dr. Danny Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Akin was a stellar baseball pitcher in high school and college. The author’s descriptive phrase in stanza five: “… by rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side…” was Akin’s signature sign of an incoming fastball (not to mention the fact that he doesn’t hear well in one ear and tilts his head to a 17 degree angle in conversation to assure he catches what is being said).
Some scholars have suggested the likely author is Jeff Iorg, president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary in California. Iorg has distinguished himself as an excellent communicator. The interesting and unusual phrase “impectinated fruit syrup” in stanza five suggests provenance in the Golden State: everyone knows that some of the best jams and jellies are made in California’s Napa Valley and San Joaquin Valley.
Who wrote it? Perhaps this case of authorship attribution will not be as difficult to decipher as the authorship of Hebrews in the New Testament!
Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence, kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus musculus. Hosiery was meticulously suspended from the forward edge of the wood burning caloric apparatus, pursuant to our anticipatory pleasure regarding an imminent visitation from an eccentric philanthropist among whose folkloric appellations is the honorific title of St. Nicholas.
The prepubescent siblings, comfortably ensconced in their respective accommodations of repose, were experiencing subconscious visual hallucinations of variegated fruit confections moving rhythmically through their cerebrums. My conjugal partner and I, attired in our nocturnal head coverings, were about to take slumberous advantage of the hibernal darkness when upon the avenaceous exterior portion of the grounds there ascended such a cacophony of dissonance that I felt compelled to arise with alacrity from my place of repose for the purpose of ascertaining the precise source thereof.
Hastening to the casement, I forthwith opened the barriers sealing this fenestration, noting thereupon that the lunar brilliance without, reflected as it was on the surface of a recent crystalline precipitation, might be said to rival that of the solar meridian itself – thus permitting my incredulous optical sensory organs to behold a miniature airborne runnered conveyance drawn by eight diminutive specimens of the genus Rangifer, piloted by a minuscule, aged chauffeur so ebullient and nimble that it became instantly apparent to me that he was indeed our anticipated caller. With his ungulate motive power travelling at what may possibly have been more vertiginous velocity than patriotic alar predators, he vociferated loudly, expelled breath musically through contracted labia, and addressed each of the octet by his or her respective cognomen – “Now Dasher, now Dancer…” et al. – guiding them to the uppermost exterior level of our abode, through which structure I could readily distinguish the concatenations of each of the 32 cloven pedal extremities.
As I retracted my cranium from its erstwhile location, and was performing a 180-degree pivot, our distinguished visitant achieved – with utmost celerity and via a downward leap – entry by way of the smoke passage. He was clad entirely in animal pelts soiled by the ebony residue from oxidations of carboniferous fuels which had accumulated on the walls thereof. His resemblance to a street vendor I attributed largely to the plethora of assorted playthings which he bore dorsally in a commodious cloth receptacle. His orbs were scintillant with reflected luminosity, while his submaxillary dermal indentations gave every evidence of engaging amiability. The capillaries of his malar regions and nasal appurtenance were engorged with blood which suffused the subcutaneous layers, the former approximating the coloration of Albion’s floral emblem, the latter that of the Prunus avium, or sweet cherry. His amusing sub- and supralabials resembled nothing so much as a common loop knot, and their ambient hirsute facial adornment appeared like small, tabular and columnar crystals of frozen water.
Clenched firmly between his incisors was a smoking piece whose grey fumes, forming a tenuous ellipse about his occiput, were suggestive of a decorative seasonal circlet of holly. His visage was wider than it was high, and when he waxed audibly mirthful, his corpulent abdominal region undulated in the manner of impectinated fruit syrup in a hemispherical container. He was, in short, neither more nor less than an obese, jocund, multigenarian gnome, the optical perception of whom rendered me visibly frolicsome despite every effort to refrain from so being. By rapidly lowering and then elevating one eyelid and rotating his head slightly to one side, he indicated that trepidation on my part was groundless.
Without utterance and with dispatch, he commenced filling the aforementioned appended hosiery with various of the aforementioned articles of merchandise extracted from his aforementioned previously dorsally transported cloth receptacle. Upon completion of this task, he executed an abrupt about-face, placed a single manual digit in lateral juxtaposition to his olfactory organ, inclined his cranium forward in a gesture of leave-taking, and forthwith effected his egress by renegotiating (in reverse) the smoke passage. He then propelled himself in a short vector onto his conveyance, directed a musical expulsion of air through his contracted oral sphincter to the antlered quadrupeds of burden, and proceeded to soar aloft in a movement hitherto observable chiefly among the seed-bearing portions of a common weed. But I overheard his parting exclamation, audible immediately prior to his vehiculation beyond the limits of visibility: “Ecstatic Yuletide to the planetary constituency, and to that self same assemblage, my sincerest wishes for a salubriously beneficial and gratifyingly pleasurable period between sunset and dawn.