Empath's story began around December 3rd in the year of his first visit to the Smurf Village, when he woke up in the bunk of the house he was sleeping in to find out that his fellow Smurfs were gathered around the window in what he sensed was awestruck wonder. Empath decided to go join them at the window and find out.
Sure enough, he could see for himself that the Smurf Village was now covered in snow and that there was snow falling. It seemed like a very unimpressive sight to him, since he had seen snow fall in Psychelia many times before since his Day of Emergence, but to the Smurfs it was like something totally new and wonderful.
They quickly scrambled to get their scarves and gloves so that they could go outside and play in the snow. Empath, however, went to his bunk and pulled out his Psychelian bodysuit which he had stored up in a drawer and covered himself up in it, feeling that now was the day to start wearing it.
The other Smurfs looked at Empath as he put on the bodysuit. "Hey, Empath, why are you smurfing on that bodysuit?" one of them asked.
"Yeah, you don't need to wear anything but a scarf and gloves," another Smurf said.
"We haven't had to smurf on anything warmer for years during winter," a third Smurf said.
"Are you afraid you're going to smurf your death of cold this year?" a fourth Smurf mocked him.
"Ah, just let Empath be," the first Smurf said. "He wants to be fearful of smurfing outside the way that he is, that's his choice. Come on, let's get smurfing."
The other Smurfs quickly scrambled outside, leaving Empath by himself as he followed them out the door. Soon he could see them playing in the snow, making snow Smurfs and snow angels and even throwing snow balls at each other. Empath himself got hit by a snowball as he stood by the door of his house while the Smurf who threw it laughed at Empath's reaction.
Soon Papa Smurf arrived, wearing just a scarf and gloves. "Good morning, Empath," he greeted. "I see that you're curious about what's smurfing on now that your fellow Smurfs have smurfed our first snowfall of the year."
"That is correct, Papa Smurf," Empath said in a flat tone. "This smurf has seen snowfalls before without ever being really impressed by them, yet these Smurfs react as if they have never seen snow before and were anticipating this day to happen."
"Winter is a time when Smurfs get to enjoy smurfing outside when it's nice and snowy, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "Granted, not every Smurf enjoys winter, but it smurfs out the Smurfling in all of us as we prepare for three months of enduring the cold weather before spring returns. This is also the time of the year when the Smurfs celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day in the year."
"Is there a particular way in which the Smurfs celebrate this Winter Solstice, Papa Smurf?" Empath asked.
"We do prepare for the celebration by smurfing down a big evergreen tree in the forest and decorate it with all smurfs of ornaments that we smurf up, Empath," Papa Smurf answered. "We also smurf gifts for one another to smurf under the tree after it is set up, and we smurf special food such as smurf nog and candy canes and gingersmurf cookies and fruitcake...although the only Smurf that I usually smurf fruitcake this time of year for some reason is Hefty."
"This smurf would be interested to experience his first celebration of the Winter Solstice with you Smurfs, so that this smurf can determine for himself its appropriateness," Empath said.
"You'll experience it firsthand, Empath, believe me," Papa Smurf said. "Right now I need to summon the Smurfs together to smurf their attention so that we can get started on smurfing the decorations for the village during this season."
"This smurf understands and acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Empath said, nodding with acceptance.
At the sound of Harmony's horn, all the Smurfs gathered around Papa Smurf as he stood upon the speaking mushroom.
"My little Smurfs, I know that you're excited about our first snowfall of the season, but now is the time we should prepare ourselves for our most joyous time of the season -- the Winter Solstice!" Papa Smurf announced.
"HURRAY!!!" most of the Smurfs shouted together.
"I hate the Winter Solstice," Grouchy said.
"Timber, I want you, Hefty, and Gutsy...sorry, I mean Duncan...to smurf out into the forest together with a team of Smurfs to smurf up the biggest evergreen tree you could find to smurf it up as our Solstice tree in the center of the village," Papa Smurf said.
"As you wish, Papa Smurf," Timber said, giving a salute in response.
"Greedy, I want you and your kitchen staff to start smurfing up a feast for us to enjoy on the day of our Winter Solstice," Papa Smurf said.
"Oh boy, that's my favorite part," Greedy said as he licked his lips.
"Yeah, mine too," Nabby said as he did the same.
"Vanity, I want you and Party Smurf to smurf the village with lots of streamers and wreaths to make this village look festive for Winter Solstice," Papa Smurf said.
"Well, you've certainly picked the right Smurf for the job, Papa Smurf," Vanity said.
"Uh, but what about gifts and presents, Papa Smurf?" Clumsy asked.
"That is up to the rest of you Smurfs to create and smurf to each other this year, Clumsy," Papa Smurf said. "Let's try to smurf together to make this one of the best Winter Solstices we've ever smurfed. That is all."
"HURRAY!!!" most of the Smurfs shouted together.
After Papa Smurf left and the Smurfs started to go their own separate ways, Tapper approached Empath, dressed in a thick green sweater. "It's going to be exciting, you celebrating your first Winter Solstice with us, my fellow Empath," Tapper said.
"This smurf senses that you don't believe that this is the holiday that we should be celebrating, fellow Tapper," Empath said.
"It's just a personal thing, but I believe the real reason for the season is to celebrate the birth of a Savior who has smurfed into this world many years ago -- the Savior being Jesus Christ."
"You believe that this Savior was born into the world around this time of the year, Tapper?" Empath asked.
"Not exactly around this time of year, my friend, but during the time of a great census when everyone in the known world was registered during the time of Cyrenius the governor of Syria," Tapper said. "Mary, the mother of Jesus, was with her husband Joseph traveling to Bethlehem to be registered, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of King David, and she was near the time of her delivery. However, because there was no room for them at the inn, Mary had to give birth to the Savior inside a dirty stable, and the Babe was smurfed inside a manger, which is what was used to feed domesticated animals in."
"That doesn't seem very hygienic for the Savior of the world to be born in a stable, or even dignified to be poor of parents of very modest means," Empath said.
"Scripture says of the Savior, that, though He was in the form of God, He didn't consider clinging to be equal with God, but He emptied Himself, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men," Tapper said. "And being found comprised as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
"So the purpose of this Savior was to be born in human form and to die for the sake of redeeming humanity unto this God whom you believe in," Empath said, sensing what Tapper was thinking.
"His life, mission, death, burial, and resurrection have all been foresmurfed by the prophets of old, Empath," Tapper said. "It's amazing that the Almighty would choose the way many people would consider foolish to bring many sons and daughters unto salvation, that they would become the children of God, to be redeemed from a world that is lost in sin and separation from Him."
"That is a fascinating story, Tapper, but this smurf has difficulty believing it to be true, even if this smurf can sense that you believe with your whole being that it is true," Empath said.
"I can only pray that not only you, but also others in this village, will believe in the verity of this story that has been smurfed to me from the very God who loved us and created us even in our mother's womb," Tapper said.
"This smurf appreciates your sharing of the story regardless, Tapper," Empath said with a nod of his head.
Just then, Timber, Hefty, and Duncan showed up. "Hey, laddie, you want to join us in smurfing out our Solstice tree in the forest so we can smurf it back home and smurf it up?" Duncan asked.
"Come join us, we could use a Smurf like you to help transport it," Timber said.
Empath looked at Tapper as if wondering what he should do. "I would suggest that you smurf along with them and learn firsthand about how we celebrate our Winter Solstice while you have the chance," Tapper said.
Empath nodded. "Then that is what this smurf will do. This smurf will see you later upon our return with the Solstice tree." With that, he joined the three other Smurfs as they headed off into the forest together.
"May the luck of the Smurfish be with you, fellow Smurfs," Tapper said as he watched them depart.
On their way into the forest, Timber and Duncan both sang songs together while Hefty and Empath both walked on silently, with Empath quietly observing all that was taking place and Hefty feeling like he would rather just get the job done and return to the village than put up with having to be around Empath or Duncan.
"How far do we need to go in order to find the tree that would be suitable for our Winter Solstice tree?" Empath asked.
"Timber's smurfed a good eye for the right kind of tree, laddie," Duncan said. "He hasn't smurfed a bad tree since the day he first smurfed an axe to one."
"But I don't like smurfing down trees without smurfing a new one to take its place, Empath," Timber said. "That's why I like to smurf a moment of silence for the tree that has smurfed its life for us so that we can honor Mother Nature for the gift of smurfing us this forest for us to live in."
"I don't care much for honoring trees, much less honoring Mother Nature and Father Time for anything," Hefty said. "I just want to keep my fellow Smurfs safe from harm and not let ourselves get exposed."
"That's a very disrespectful thing to say, Hefty, given that Mother Nature has smurfed your very life into being," Timber said.
"Well, that's my opinion, and I think that I should be entitled to it, unless any of you can smurf me a reason otherwise," Hefty said defensively. "Just as I should be entitled to think that Empath isn't a real Smurf for having to smurf that ridiculous bodysuit around on a day like today."
"If it smurfs the laddie warm all winter, why should you care?" Duncan said. "He isn't smurfing you any harm smurfing those thermals now, is he?"
"This smurf is curious about why you Smurfs feel like you don't need to wear anything warmer than a scarf and a pair of gloves, Duncan," Empath said.
"It's just how we Smurfs are, my boy," Duncan said. "Mother Nature can smurf blistering cold winds at us, and it won't even smurf us a bit. But then Mother Nature created us for the purpose of withsmurfing the coldest of winters."
"Hmmmm, then perhaps this smurf should consider trying to wear less when it comes to being outside among this smurf's fellow Smurfs in the coldest temperatures," Empath pondered.
"There it is...the perfect tree for us!" Timber exclaimed
The four of them raced toward a big evergreen tree that looked like it was several feet tall. Empath looked at the tree and wondered if it was the right one to stand in the center of the village without attracting undue attention unto themselves.
"Get ready to smurf, tree, because Hefty's going to smurf you down," Hefty exclaimed, ready to swing the axe he was carrying.
"First, let us pray for the tree," Timber said. With every Smurf's head bowed down, he prayed, "Mother Nature, thank you for smurfing us this tree for our Winter Solstice. May we honor you with our gifts of smurfitude as we plant a new tree that will smurf the place of this one in the spring. For we ask you this in the name of Mother Nature and Father Time. So let it be."
"So let it be," Empath and Duncan responded.
"Okay, Duncan, Empath, smurf yourselves out of the way so that the tree doesn't smurf you down with it," Timber warned. Empath and Duncan positioned themselves as far from where the tree would land as possible while Timber and Hefty took turns hacking away at the tree.
It took about a few minutes, but then they could hear the sound of the tree falling. "Timber!" Timber called out.
"Empath, look out!" Duncan shouted as he backed himself away.
Empath backed away, but the tree landed so close to him that it knocked him away, causing him to fall into a deep hole that was nearby.
Duncan picked himself up from the ground after the tree had landed. Then he noticed that something was wrong. "Empath, laddie, where are you?" he asked.
"Duncan, what's wrong? Where's Empath?" Timber asked.
"I don't know, Timber," Duncan answered. "He must have been smurfing too close to the tree when it had smurfed him down into a hole that was nearby."
The three of them looked around until they found the hole. They peered down to see if they could find a trace of Empath. "Empath, are you down there? Are you all right?" Duncan called out.
The three listened, but there was no response. "Not a single smurf," Hefty said.
"Could Empath have been knocked out wherever he had landed in that hole?" Timber asked.
"We won't know for sure unless we smurf down there with ropes," Duncan answered.
"We'd better report this to Papa Smurf, and then get the other Smurfs to help smurf this tree back to the village," Hefty suggested.
"Aye, we'll have better luck finding him when we smurf ourselves with some rescue gear with us, laddie," Duncan said.
"I only hope Empath will be all right until we find him," Timber said as the three of them headed away from the mouth of the hole.