My partner, Jocelyn, once again worked a minor miracle by scoring me yet another interview with Jesus.
Me: Hi, Jesus. I really appreciate you taking the time to talk, especially since this is your busy season.
Jesus: Busy season? I’m not Santa! It’s just my birthday. Actually, it’s a slow time for me.
Me: Really? Why’s that?
Jesus: Don’t get me started. I mean, people use my name all the time, like “Merry Christmas” and all, but people don’t really think about me when they say it. It’s like when you pass someone at work and ask, “How’s it going?” It’s just something you say, not something you mean. So I’ve got a lot of free time. It’s hard to compete with pageants, bowl games, a new toys.
Me: Jesus, as a quick reminder, you know that I don’t write a religious blog, right? I write about things to help people in the here and now, not the afterlife. But since you are a very popular religious figure, I’ll bet my readers would want to know your take on the Christmas season.
Jesus: Ain’t bout Black Friday, not Cyber Monday, not pepper spray…
Me: What’s that?
Jesus: The opening lines of a rap song I’m working on. I just think it’s silly that people get up at a ridiculous hour to buy the “must have” gift for someone on their shopping list. They sit in long traffic lines, give each other the middle finger when someone takes their parking spot, elbow and shove their neighbors in competition over a toy. It’s no wonder so many people have heart attacks around the holidays.
Me: You don’t care for the commercialism. That’s clear. So what would you change about the season?
Jesus: I don’t want complain, really.
Me: Hey! It’s your special day, right? How do you want people to remember your birth?
Jesus: Okay, since you brought it up, that’s another thing: all of the manger scenes. Please!
Me: Wait! Are you saying that you don’t like manger scenes for Christmas? I thought those would make you feel special. I figured you’d hate sharing your day with sleighs, Santas and snowmen.
Jesus: I LOVE those things, Scott. A good friend of mine has a huge, inflatable Homer Simpson dressed as Santa on his lawn. It makes me smile every time!
Me: Why don’t you like the manger?
Jesus: Scott, I was there at my birth. Do you know what a manger is? It’s where you put the food to feed livestock. It smells, and the hay gave me a rash.
Me: So it’s not a pleasant memory?
Jesus: That’s just a small part of it. At your last birthday, did people gather to celebrate your birth by telling stories about Baby Scott? Did you watch the same video of your birth? Did everyone want to talk about the events leading up to your birth, like your conception?
Me: No. No, I don’t think I’d like that. I wouldn’t like that all…
Jesus: The events leading up to my birth were miraculous. And my birth fulfilled a lot of prophesy. Things happened in a very particular way and in a very specific order for a reason. And I love my story. It’s just…
Me: What? What’s wrong?
Jesus: I want people to know me as a man, an adult. I want people to think of me more than twice a year, once on my birthday and once on the anniversary of my death. I want folks to want a relationship with me as a grown up, not just the cute little boy in the manger.
Me: That makes a lot of sense. I never thought about it that way before. So it’s not that you dislike the focus on your birth. You just want people to focus more on your life.
Jesus: You were always smart, Scott. Yes, that’s what I mean.
Me: Ha! Thanks, Jesus. What gift are you giving this holiday season? I could use an iPhone 6 in case you’re wondering…
Jesus: I’ll put in a good word for you with Santa. But seriously, I’m giving what I always give, the same ones I received at my birth: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And I wish everyone would share those same gifts across the world.
Me: I don’t know how many people can afford gold in this economy.
Jesus: That’s not the kind of gold I’m offering. Gold has always been prized for its value, beauty, and rarity. Most people spend so much time shopping for presents around the holidays that they forget to be present. Do you remember what your kids used to value above any gift you bought them?
Me: The box.
Jesus: Yes, the box. But what else?
Me: My time.
Jesus: That’s right, Scott. That’s the gold I love people to give to me. And it’s the gift I offer others. What if everyone gave their own variety of gold to others this season? We would need fewer psychologists, long term care facilities, orphanages, prisons, and animal shelters.
Me: What about Frankincense? That’s a spice used for perfume, right?
Jesus: Yes, it smells great. But that’s not why I like it. It has medicinal properties. It’s an astringent and anti-inflammatory, and it keeps your skin from dying. That’s a big deal when you spend time in the desert. But it also has anti-depressant qualities that help relieve anxiety.
Me: So you give frankincense because people are depressed?
Jesus: No, I give frankincense as a reminder that, just like how the oil from frankincense can erase signs of age people carry on their skin, I can erase signs of pain people carry in their hearts because I offer forgiveness. That’s why I want people to think of me as a grown up. You wouldn’t bring your problems to an infant in a stable. But you can bring them to who I AM today, the One who can help. I’d like to see a plasma screen TV do that. Now imagine if everyone in the world offered the healing power of forgiveness to each other!
Me: Excellent reminder. How about myrrh.
Jesus: Well, it has medicinal properties like frankincense. I don’t want to freak anyone out, but myrrh is a Middle Eastern spice used for embalming. I give myrrh as a reminder that we’re all going to die someday.
Me: Um, Jesus, that’s not the kind of cheery message I wanted to end on.
Jesus: Hear me out, Scott. Myrrh reminds me that I while I walked the earth, I had a very special destiny and a finite amount of time to achieve what I needed to accomplish. Do you see why I still give myrrh today? I want the world to know that each of you has been created for a unique purpose, and you have a finite time to accomplish immortality. You won’t leave anything behind except the legacy you grow in the hearts and minds of others. Be mindful of that, not just at Christmas, but every day.
Me: We’re going to end on that word, Jesus. Thank you again for taking the time to visit with me. I hope to talk to you again very soon.
I’ve been talking with Jesus, the founder of a movement called Christianity who reminds us to give personal, valuable gifts like time, forgiveness, and a mindfulness of the legacy we leave for others this holiday season.
(microphones switched off. Jesus removes the headset)
Jesus: Always a pleasure talking with you, Scott.
Me: Same here, Jesus.
Jesus: Um, Scott. Just so you’re not disappointed, you’re not going to see that iPhone this year.
Me: Yeah, I didn’t think so.