I don’t know if you’ve heard about this, but there’s apparently a bit of a crime spree across the US involving baby Jesi (for the purposes of my blog, I prefer to use “Jesi” as the plural form of “Jesus” because “Jesuses” is just too akward). People actually go around, stealing these little plastic cherubs who herald the birth of a savior! Do a search for “baby jesus theft” and you’ll get tons of articles about it (my favorite title is Nativity Captivity: Baby Jesus thefts a prank or an affront in the San Diego Union-Tribune). This wave has been so severe that some precints have installed GPS tracking devices in the baby Jesi!!! There are companies who now offer churches a free GPS-tracker for their baby Jesus (http://www.prweb.com/releases/lightning/gps/prweb1701254.htm). A couple things come to my mind…
REFLECTION # 1) At first I didn’t like these baby-stealers. After all, they were absconding with my savior. After a while, though, I started to see that they could be quite noble. Let me try to take this somewhere:
Every year, most churches begin advent so well. They hold back on Christmas songs and sing things like O Come, O Come Emmanual and Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus and even Lift Up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates. But then pastors go Christmas shopping and hear Christmas songs in the stores. The pastor will preach another advent sermon but she or he is quickly running out of advent carols that everyone knows and / or likes. Then the pastor gets so excited about Christmas coming that (s)he barfs Christmas all over the congregation in a massive pagent of Christmas songs and scriptures. (S)He’ll probably even tell the congregation “Merry Christmas” They just can’t help themselves. And congregations love them for it, because our American, consumer, instant-gratification driven congregations have never been challenged to wait, expect, fast and pray their way to Christmas. They’ve never waited all the way through advent and so they don’t know how climactic, exciting and amazing that Christmas can truly be!
Celebrating Christmas in the middle of advent is like eating Spaghetti-Os right out of the can. Sure, you can do it and it won’t make you sick but they taste SO MUCH BETTER heated up.
I wonder…just a little bit…if all these Jesus-thieves aren’t God’s angels. I wonder if God looks at us and says, ‘seriously? You couldn’t wait just two more weeks?’ And so, God, like a father taking a cold can of Spaggetti-Os from his child’s hands, sends angelic vigilanties to snatch the baby Jesus from the hands of over-eager congregations who just don’t know how to work their spiritual microwave.
To all the baby Jesus thefts out there, I say, BRAVO! Way to make the church better! But please, if you could return Jesus on Christmas to the church, we’d appreciate it. We know that we don’t deserve Jesus, but if you could kindly return him on Christmas, it could be a nice miracle for us.
REFLECTION # 2) I’ve faced many moments in my life when it was hard to find Jesus. I never thought of using a GPS.