Friday, December 30, 2011

Jesus Just ... blew up

I never really have cared much for nativity scenes. That's no secret. Everybody who knows me knows that. I find them rather ... cheesy. At best you find a display of concrete or hard plastic figures standing in a make believe stable. Most often you'll find a donkey or two. Maybe some wise men. And in the center there is always baby Jesus lying in a feeding trough. Remember, that's the expensive set-ups. The really bad ones are plastic, gaudy colored, and lit from within.

When I think of what it must have been like to be in that real stable the night Jesus was born ... well ... the aforementioned display doesn't come close. It was dark, and it smelled badly, and it was full of blood and after-birth, and manure. Seems to me that isn't much of a place to give birth to any child. Much less God's Son.

God reminded me once that the piece of history that the nativity scene portrays, cheesy or not, represents something that really happened at a specific time in history. It's real. I am very grateful for that. And so I have a rather uneasy peace about the whole thing. It happened. We could do a better job of displaying it. But then, nobody would want it in their front yard.

I have a friend named Bill. He owns a very nice home in suburban St. Louis. Every year Bill drags his semi-cheesy nativity set out of its summer hiding place. He gets it all situated on the front lawn for the neighborhood to see. Bill loves Jesus like I do. And every year while he is setting up his nativity scene he calls me and let's me know that "today is the day! I'm putting Jesus out in the front yard and that made me think of you!" And we share a laugh. Good times.

Bill called me today. He doesn't have to take the nativity scene down this year. It seems that last night, while he and his wife were out of town ... Jesus burned the whole thing down. To the ground. They were just driving along when a neighbor called them and said the police and the fire department were at his house because Jesus was on fire. You don't see that happen every day. Bill said that least one of the wise men melted all the way down to the grass. He not-so-casually asked where I was last night around 8:30PM. I have an alibi. Iron clad. I was eating sweet potato waffle fries at Lions Choice. My wife watched me do it. Innocent.

The truth is, I think Jesus did it Himself. Take a look at the picture taken by a passerby. The real Jesus is dong just fine, thank you. But the plastic Jesus totally flamed out. No need to blow out the candles on Jesus cake this year.

But would somebody mind blowing out Jesus?