The scene takes place in heaven just at the conclusion of a surprise birthday celebration for Jesus. Several heavenly luminaries have just treated Jesus to cake and ice cream. As the party breaks up, Jesus and Gabriel are speaking to each other.

Gabriel: Well, that was nice. Were you surprised? We were so afraid you would know–after all you know everything.

Jesus: Yes, I did have fun. And even if I did know, it was still nice. I will say Paul got on my last my nerve referring to me as the “fullness of the Godhead bodily.” I admit it’s a catchy phrase, and it really makes me feel good. But after 50 times, even the profound runs a little thin.

Gabriel: Well that’s Paul. It was that tenacity that made him such a great Apostle.

Jesus: I suppose you are right.

Gabriel: So, Moses and Elijah are picking teams to play some football, do you want to go?

Jesus: No, I don’t think so. I think I will just sit here for a while and watch the celebration down on earth. I really love it when the children sing. Their little voices are so pure and lovely.

Gabriel: Are you OK? You seem a little down.

Jesus: Well, I guess I am, a little. This time of year always gets to me.

Gabriel: How come? It’s your day!

Jesus:  I know, and that’s part of it. After all these many years they still don’t get it.

Gabriel: You mean the folks on earth?

Jesus: Yes, I mean think about it, how many times did I say do not store up treasures on earth. But they pursue material wealth like their lives depended on it. Instead of measuring life by the quality of their relationships, they measure their worth by who has the most stuff.

Gabriel: Yeah, I’ve noticed that, too.

Jesus: And of course that creates additional problems. They spend so much time and money on useless junk that they don’t have time or money left to help people that really need it. I told them plainly to take care of the poor.  But they don’t. I was at a rescue mission the other day. There was a sign out front that read, “No one should go hungry at Christmas time.” I wanted to scream out, “No one should go hungry anytime!”

Gabriel: I know, I know.

Jesus: You know what they did this year? This year a bunch of them got into an argument about whether to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” A few folks nearly came to blows over it. And then, to top it all off, since my birthday falls on a Sunday this year, hundreds of churches have cancelled services. They know attendance will be low so they just called it off. Can you believe that! They accuse department stores of taking Christ out of Christmas, but it’s the believers, the ones who are supposed to know the difference who won’t even be in church on my birthday.

Gabriel: But it’s not that way everywhere. Lots of people get it and get it right.

Jesus:  I know. I was just hoping that by now, with so many people claiming to know me, that things would be different.

Gabriel: Well, maybe Christmas next year will be better. Come on, let’s go play football.

Jesus: Go on without me. I’ll be along in a minute. The children are singing “Joy to the World.”

James L. Evans is pastor of Auburn First Baptist Church in Auburn, Ala.

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