And now, a little Christmas Satire and Cheer with Bob and Evelyn…
Evelyn: Christmas is only a few weeks away. And we’ve been enjoying the Advent services so much more this year, now that we moved to a new church. The minister at the old church would always look down and stare at us at certain uncomfortable points in his sermons. But at this new church, the minister doesn’t know us at all and we’re able to maintain a healthy anonymity. So I was little surprised to see Bob visibly anxious the other night about something the preacher said …
Bob: Evelyn, I’ve been thinking about the text he read last week — the one about God sending a messenger to prepare the way, so make straight the crooked path.
Evelyn: Right, and he reminded us that to receive the good news of God’s presence in the world we have to be open to where we’re seeing and hearing it.
Bob: Exactly! Problem is, all week I’ve been seeing things in a different light. And I don’t know what to believe about Christmas or God anymore. It has me kinda anxious.
Evelyn: What do you mean?
Bob: Well, yesterday on the freeway, I saw this old guy standing on the shoulder, pointing and waving at people, holding some sort of sign. He had a full white beard, was dressed in tattered overalls — He looked like Santa, but lost and confused — And when I got close enough to see the sign, it said, “I’ve seen the future. Turn Back!”
Evelyn: Now, Bob. That’s not what the preacher was talking about. That’s just some crazy person. I think he’s there all the time. Most folks just ignore him.
Bob: Sure, I bet that’s what they said about John the Baptist – just some crazy person! Well I was walking downtown after work last night and saw a street corner preacher holding up a sign that read, “Heaven wants to know – IS YOUR NAME ON THE LIST?” It reminded me of that time I was 5 and got scared during the early Candlelight Service at that Episcopal Church my family attended. On the way down the church hall, I saw a bunch of names listed in the wall. So I asked my mother who they were. And she said they were the names of people who died in the Service…. And that really scared me, “Was it the early service or the late one?” I couldn’t sleep all night because I kept thinking “what if that’s the same list Santa works up?” I didn’t want my name on THE LIST! Now I’m all worried again, Evelyn, that I don’t know what to believe about this whole Nativity thing.
Evelyn: Bob, I think you’re getting all worked up for the wrong reasons. In fact, the word “belief” used to mean “to care for or to love.” It wasn’t about some doctrine or event as being true or false. It’s always been about love and trust and compassion. Not about guilt or shame… or some List – just the invitation to see love and be love as we are loved by God. That’s what we prepare ourselves for during Advent, I think.
Bob: Well, I guess you’re right, Evelyn. I am getting too worked up. Besides, I just remembered. Aren’t Jack and Sheila coming over tonight? Their problems always make me feel better about my life anyway.