A poem for Christmas Day
I’ll begin paying homage to the mentors I choose.That includes Matthew, Mark, Luke and, of course, Dr. Seuss.The premise today that I wish to exploreasks what would you do if Christ came to your doornot all wrapped up and swathed, all cuddly and cute,nor fat, red and jolly dressed in a Santa Claus suit.No, what would you do if today of all daysChrist was plopped down right where your puppy dog plays?The question is valid and worth our exploringon this day when religion should be anything but boring.So first let us ask each other and morehow would you know if this is the child to adore?Would you be able to tell that this is the onewho many of us claim to be our God’s son?I mean without a bright shining star, without wise men threewould you know in a minute that this is the He?You see, I’m not so sure I’d be too discerningin spite of my study and biblical learning.For what I’ve been saying the older I get:”Please come God . . .but please just not yet.”So what about you? Have you anything to sayabout whether and how God might come round your way?I suspect this time he’d probably choosea different disguise than the one he already used. This time he might come as a bum or a she.He might even come as our archenemy.So just for awhile and maybe for pleasureponder anew on this holy treasure:Christ is born in Bethlehem, ’tis truebut he also comes today and to you.
Most of us, I am sad to say,will miss out on him if he comes round today.We’ll think that we know how precisely he looks’cuz we’ve sung all the songs and we’ve read all the books!But Christmas isn’t Christmas if we can foreseethe how, when and why, of he . . . or of she.In humble of offerings, in modest requestlet us pause for a moment and give it a rest.I mean all the hoopla and unending hypethat seem to surround this one cold, wintry night.”Cuz I think if we wanted to be honest and truethe last person we’d expect would be a homeless, poor Jew.The savior we want and of whom we are fondshould be bright and witty and preferably blond.He’d be our best buddy. She’d be our best gal.One or the other they’d be our best pal.We’d take them with us wherever we wentand they’d bless all our buying and the money we spent.Together they’d join in our mutual shamingof all those who are different and deserve all our blaming.We’d laugh and toast how much we are blessedand then hop into bed, unworried, unstressed.After all God is on our side, we can easily prove.Cuz if you’re different than us then we win and you lose.OK, let’s try a slightly different tackand see if we can make our way backto those ancient and oldest of dayswhen God came in the oddest of ways.
The people expected, indeed they assumedthat God would appear all neat and all groomed.So when God showed up among the powerless and poorthe good folk of the day said, “Let’s keep looking some more”.And we have continued that ignoble traditionwith our too often arrogant and supercilious religion.We speak of God as if we know for certainjust how the almighty might lift up this curtain.The next act we think we know where it’s going,the places it’s headed, the theatres it’s showing.We figure we’ve got it all figured outfrom opening line with no lingering doubtas to who will be blessed and who will be damnedby the great God almighty, the “I am who I am”.Won’t it be something, a huge, big surprise,when the next holy appearance, right before our eyes,comes in a manner or means totally shockinginstead of angels with harps we get rappers with rocking!What would we say if God suddenly choosesto pick someone for something who usually loses.Would we welcome God’s pick, the one God has chosenor would we sit rigid, the great Christian frozen.Would we refuse to consider, not for a minute believe,that God might choose, indeed even conceive,a messenger from heaven who comes on that nightdoing everything wrong that we think is right.It’s hard to imagine but imagine we shouldand, besides, let me say, it’s for our own good,that God in God’s wisdom might choose to entertaina notion not new but simple and plain.
It goes something like this, if you’ll forgive my rhyming,that the meaning of Christmas is found in its timing.You can’t expect that each and every yearthe God of great mystery will always appearwrapped up neat and tidy all safe from dangerand cutely ensconced in a Bethlehem manger.That’s been done, long ago and far away.Let’s try something different, whaduya say?Let’s open our lives, let’s open our heartsand expect something else to arrive in these parts.Beginning today, I humbly propose,we start looking for Jesus in unusual clothes.Let’s see if we find him in a strange situation.Who knows? Maybe he’s here on vacation!Maybe she speaks fluent Polish or Spanish.Maybe he’s one of those we wish would just vanish.Maybe God comes in a snowboarder’s gear. Maybe God comes when nobody’s here.Maybe God comes when it’s really a bother.Maybe God comes as a mother not father.The point, you see, that I’m trying to makeis to understand Christmas for Christmas’ sake,is to welcome the stranger, to cherish the poor,to feed those who hunger, to open the door.In so doing, you see if I’m right,we discover the Christ who came on that night.Rich Mayfield writes a Saturday column. This is an encore of one of his favorites. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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