Thursday, December 22, 2016

A burnt plastic baby Jesus or an adored plastic baby Jesus? Or perhaps the Lord of all!


Several days ago my granddaughter, Melissa or grandson-in-law, Spencer (not sure which one) wrote on his timeline:

“Such a strange Christmas season, our church in Sac had their nativity scene out front vandalized with swastikas and other obscenities, and the baby Jesus doll was burned to a crisp. Kind of surreal. Hey crazy people of Midtown. Jesus loves you, come to church again, on Christmas morning and learn about the guy whose plastic baby effigy you roasted. As our pastor said “He’s risen. That was just a doll.”

That was Trinity Lutheran Church, (Missouri Synod) in Sacramento. My husband and I have attended there often, over many years, it is a blessed fellowship.

The outrage reminded me of an advent story I wrote about in one of my first Advent postings. Only in that case it was about someone whose focus was only on seeing the plastic Jesus. I wrote:

Another Christmas Eve I remember we attended a Catholic midnight mass. A group of young people from our church, [Warehouse Ministries], who had been nominal Catholics but had recently come to Christ, asked us to go with them to Christmas Eve mass. I only remember a few things about that night. The church, the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, now restored, was huge and dark. We all set together filling a whole pew. When we were to ‘pass the peace’ it was with exuberant hugs. I remember the quiet Delta tule fog after service and the man under the streetlight asking for a little change.

But what I remember most clearly was the woman sitting behind me who whispered to the person next to her, “My dear, I only came to see the baby Jesus.”

Her statement and attitude projected not amazement that the Christ child was very God and very human, but that Christianity and Christmas were only about a good child and a fuzzy warmth. I wrote a small poem about this later, the next week. (And it is important to know that this was the years that a doll named ‘baby alive’ was marketed.)

“My Dear, I only came to see the baby Jesus!"

Release the babe!
The imaged doll,
Congregator of chained smiling humanity.
Oh Holy child, break out into the Man.

We worship before the gilded crib.
A pink and pampered god,
Baby Alive;
Never dead and never resurrected

Obeisance made a dreamy, diapered child;
A blood soaked God rejected in his cries and tears.
Preferable to hold our god
then a Lord to hold us, enfolding our fears

Yes he is risen, and he came and he is coming. Merry & holy Christmas even to the crazy people in Midtown Sacramento. May they find Him as Lord.as burned to a crisp. Kind of surreal. Hey crazy people of midtown, Jesus loves you, come to church again, on Christmas morning, and learn about the guy whose plastic baby effigy you roasted. As our pastor said, "He's risen. That was just a doll."as burned to a crisp. Kind of surreal. Hey crazy people of midtown, Jesus loves you, come to church again, on Christmas morning, and learn about the guy whose plastic baby effigy you roasted. As our pastor said, "He's risen. That was just a doll."

2 comments:

Andy Vloedman said...

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men"

As we move into a year filled with dark clouds I wonder if the way forward isn't found in the children's song. "This little light of mine I'm going to let it shine"

I'm grateful for how bright and clear your light shines.

Merry Christmas Viola to you and your family.

Andy

Viola Larson said...

Merry Christmas to you Andy and your family. And thank you.