Monday, December 22, 2008
"Plastic Baby Jesus"
We had some guests over at the house until late evening Friday night. When we went to the door to thank them for their visit we saw a "plastic baby Jesus" on the porch in front of the door. It was one of those lighted plastic Jesus figures in a manger that belongs with a nativity set. Well, what do you do with a stolen "plastic baby Jesus"? It was the perfect prank, someone stole it from a neighbor and implicated the pastor by putting it on his porch. The next day Cindy and I drove around the neighborhood looking for nativity sets missing baby Jesus. There were quite a few of these plastic nativity sets. All of them had their Jesus and then finally we found it, the Nativity set with the missing baby. I went up and rang the door bell excited to tell our neighbor we had their missing baby. An elderly lady came out to talk to me on that cold winter Saturday. I told her that I had a baby and maybe it was hers. She said, no, her baby Jesus was in the corner of her porch waiting for Christmas Day. She said “you can’t put out the baby until Christmas day. The baby isn’t born yet.” Well we still had a missing baby. So what do you do with a "plastic baby Jesus" that is stolen? You can’t keep it. You dare not throw it away. You would return it but don’t know where it belongs. Keep it and hope that the thief brings you Mary and Joseph the next year?
So what do you do? You work it into an illustration for Sunday's Christmas sermon. The illustration actually worked well with the message theme. After the service a very repentant prankster came up to confess that she (and her accomplice who was not with her) had done the prank. Well the story has a happy ending. I got a good illustration for a sermon. The pranksters made everything right by coming to get "plastic baby Jesus"and returning it to the waiting Joseph and Mary on somebody's yard.
The point is that for all of us Christmas is about some great things like trees and decorations, Stanta Claus and cooking and giving gifts and shopping and getting the most for your money and bargains and time off from school and work. But the truth is, if we forget that it really is about the Baby born to mankind who was God Himself we miss it completely. I want to wish you all a very MERRY CHRISTMAS.