Once upon a time on a cold cold night in the middle of winter, in a country far far away, there sat a pair of very nondescript, average brown birds. They were commonly known as "Sand Drabs," inhabitants of the Sinai Desert. These birds were the lowest of the low, having no permanent home, they were the nomads of the desert, and shifted from dune to dune in rhythm with the wind and sand.

On this particular night Holly and Berry sat shivering close together behind a sand dune, with only the memory of the last summer's vitalizing sun to sustain them through the bitter cold of the night. Berry slowly half opened one sleepy eye, and couldn't believe what he saw. Far off in the distance was a faint light coming through the otherwise inky depths of the cruel night sky. He thought that this was perhaps just a dream of a dazzling sun-lit day. However he did open his eyes fully, and perceived the glow wasn't a dream after all.

Berry nudged Holly awake with his beak to make sure he wasn't seeing things. Holly saw it too. Uncertain if it was a far off sun, or what it was, they agreed they should investigate it's source. Sand drabs are natural sun worshipers. The anticipation that it would be warm and light made them move from their night's sleeping burrow, toward the direction of the glow.

It was a hard trip they made that freezing night. They first flew for miles, then they would rest a bit and walk part way. With every passing mile the light became brighter and more beautiful. They knew they had to reach it no matter what it took.

Panting and limping they finally made it, feathers frozen together, weighted with ice crystals and toes completely frostbitten. The great light in the sky appeared to be a very bright star, and as they got nearer, it seemed to be hovering over a dilapidated stable. Holly looked at Berry with dismay. "We came all this distance chasing the light of a star!," Holly exclaimed. Berry tried to console her for their apparent bad judgement, and suggested they roost on top of the stable roof for the rest of the night. With one last burst of energy, they flew to the roof, and couldn't believe their tired sand filled eyes.

A most wondrous glow came from within the weathered rude wooden lean-to of a building. There was a warmth coming from the area, just as if the sun was shining brightly. As Holly and Berry looked down, they saw the most beautiful newborn baby lying in a manger on a bed of straw. They turned to look at one another with a puzzled gaze. What was the meaning of this, they inquired of each other.

Their questions were soon to be answered, as they felt the gentle whir of a pair of glorious huge white wings over their heads. A beautiful Angel of the Lord emerged from out of the velvety blue depths of the night sky, and took her place beside the pair of Sand Drabs. She explained to them that this was the most special night of all nights, it was the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ. The star they followed to get to Bethlehem guided them as well as others to the holy event.

Many animals had arrived, as well as shepherds, and off in the distance they could see three kings approaching, decked out in the finest garments, bearing wondrous gifts. Wise men were kneeling down in adoration of the Blessed Baby. A small drummer boy stood at the side, shyly holding his humble gift of a bunch of fragrant Desert Lillies. The two homely brown Sand Drabs began to cry. The Angel of the Lord asked them why they were so sad at such a happy event. They told her that they were embarrassed because they neither had a present to offer Baby Jesus nor were beautiful enough to present themselves to Him.

The Angel of the Lord smiled sweetly and wrapped her splendid wings around Holly and Berry ever so gently. Don't worry she told them, as she gave them new beautiful colored feathers to wear. Holly became the most intense shade of velvety red, and Berry was turned a scintillating grass green. She designed their feather cloaks with accents of various shades of blue and yellow as well. they were astounded as they looked down and discovered all the dull brown was replaced with finely textured dazzling colored raiment.

Our two transformed friends were speechless at this point, but that was soon to change! The Angel of the Lord took their straight, heretofore speechless beaks, put a bend in them, and gave them the gift of speech. You will have the ability to speak from this day forward, my children so that you may go forward into God's wonderful world, and praise the Lord. You are to be God's chosen birds, my dear shining ones, and you will contain the spirit of all Parrots. Your name shall be called Eclectus, because your origin is composed of elements from many of the bird kingdom.

Holly and Berry suddenly realized they were the most elegantly attired creatures there, and immediately used their incredible gift of speech to sing praises to the precious Baby Jesus. Preferring to remain on the roof and vocalize from an unseen perch that first night, Eclectus still carry that same trait to this day.

As a rosy dawn broke over Bethlehem, The Angel of the Lord detected faint shivers from our newly garbed pair. She inquired about this, and Holly and Berry told her that they felt so privileged to be present and be a part of such a wondrous event. They didn't want to seem ungrateful, but they really would prefer to live in a climate that didn't chill them to the core of their delicate bird bones. Once again the Angel of the Lord embraced them lovingly in her powerful wings, and poof! ...they were half way across the world, and found themselves gently placed high atop a tree in the middle of a lush emerald green tropical forest. Sunlight streamed through the leaves, and the Red and Green ones smiled that little Mona Lisa grin that they still do today when partaking of Pomegranate.

Berry looked at Holly and said, "We must be very very special birds to be guided to Bethlehem for the blessed event of Jesus' birth, and transformed in so many wonderful ways from our original state of being." It is an honor that Eclectus parrots bear to this day, the privilege of being red and green in honor of Christ's birth, Christmas. This is the true story of how Eclectus parrots came to be God's own chosen red and green "Christmas Birds."

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© 1998 Susie Christian