[flash fiction by Deanne Gwinn]
Strolling through town on Christmas Eve, the teachers paused to watch through a window as a family opened gifts.
“The star of Bethlehem on their tree makes me think of what I’ve taught,” said Jesus. “If someone offends you, turn the other cheek. Do good to each other, and have compassion.”
“Ah, yes, compassion,” said the Buddha. “Let go of desire for revenge and victory, and the desire to dominate. At all times, seek a way to peace.”
Muhammed nodded. “For many years, I sat with people of all religions, helping them resolve disputes. But my greatest lesson was the day my followers had an enemy surrounded ten to one. We could have slaughtered them all. Instead, I told my followers to give them amnesty. We presented them with generous gifts, then let them leave in peace. My actions taught compassion, and that the way of Islam is always to seek peace.”
“Yes, peace,” said Abraham. “In my time, there was so much bickering. One tribe against another, conflict after conflict, with everyone bowing to different gods. I taught them there is only one God, that everyone was just worshipping different parts of the same thing. Then I became father of many nations. So a logical person would deduce we’re all one family, right? That we should treat each other like family. Like visiting cousins — am I not right here?”
The others nodded, murmuring assent.
“So, I don’t understand,” said Abraham. “For thousands of years, we’ve been teaching them the same basic, simple truths over and over and over, and they still haven’t gotten the message?”
Great sadness settled across the teachers as they watched a teen rip wrapping paper off a new assault rifle.