Perhaps you've heard about the little girl who came home from Sunday school triumphantly waving a paper. "Mommy!" she said, "My teacher says I drew the most unusual Christmas picture she has ever seen."
Her mother studied the picture and concluded it was indeed a very peculiar Christmas picture. "This is wonderfully drawn, but why are these people riding on the back of an airplane?"
"It's the flight into Egypt," the little girl said, with a hint of disappointment that the picture's meaning was not immediately obvious.
"Oh," the mother said cautiously. "Who is this mean looking man at the front?"
"That's Pontius the pilot," the girl said now visibly impatient.
"I see. And here you have Mary, Joseph, and the baby," the mother volunteered. Studying the picture silently for a moment, she summoned the courage to ask, "But who is this fat man sitting behind Mary?"
The little girl sighed. "Can't you tell? That's round John Virgin."
That conversation could occur in any home with a creative child. But let's change the scene to a commercial airplane. In fact, let's make it the world's first totally computerized airliner ready for its maiden flight without pilots. The plane taxies to the loading area. Its doors open and the steps come out automatically. The passengers board the plane and take their seats. The steps retreat automatically, the doors close, and the airplane taxies toward the runway.
"Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen," a voice intones. "Welcome to the debut of the world's first fully computerized airliner. Everything on this aircraft is run electronically. Just sit back and relax. Nothing can go wrong … Nothing can go wrong … Nothing can go wrong … go wrong … go wrong…
Now let's go to a busy city street. A man's car is stalled in the middle of an intersection and the woman behind him honks her horn continuously as he tries to start it. Finally he gets out and walks to her car.
"I can't seem to get my car started," he said, smiling. "If you'll go down and start it for me, I'll stay here and lean on your horn."
Finally, a trip to the local golf course. We see a golfer becoming so angry that he throws his brand-new set of golf clubs into the lake. A few minutes later he wades into the lake to retrieve his clubs. He proceeds to take his car keys out of the bag and then throws his clubs back into the water.
Fun stories that we can all relate to. But let's make a few observations about the Christmas season based on these common everyday situations. Each story has a lesson:
1. Our world is full of people who, like the little girl, misunderstand the Christmas message. We can help them get it right by introducing them to the true Christ in our words and deeds (John 20:31).
2. Our world is full of things that go wrong … go wrong. We can be there when that happens with the best news ever announced (Luke 2:10-11).
3. Our world needs to see our patience, as we look beyond the surface of what's happening, stop honking, and try to help (Galatians 5:22-23).
4. Our world is full of people who are frustrated. We need to tell them about the One who forgives and helps us change—in more than golf shots (1 John 5:18-20).
We may not like all the commercialization, but let's not throw out the baby with the bathwater (or the keys with the golf clubs). Don't forget 2 Corinthians 9:15: "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!"
Some versions say "unspeakable" or "gift too wonderful for words." Amidst all the hustle and bustle, let's keep in mind that this is what Christmas is all about.
Dave DeLuca, a pastor, is the author of various articles and Bible studies, as well as the book How to Deal with the Ten Toughest Stress Situations.
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