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Now that the holidays are upon us I need a few clarifications. Some of these questions I have asked before, but without receiving any satisfactory answers. For instance: In that show “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” we learn that there is an island of misfit toys. We also learn that Santa’s elves make all the toys. Therefore, Santa’s elves are responsible for all the pain and suffering experienced by those misfit toys. And yet no one has held Santa or a single elf responsible for this corruption. Why?
Also: what about those exploding frogs everybody sings about, the “missile toads?” What is the deal there? I have never seen one, not even on television. I haven’t even seen one animated, and yet so many songs talk about kissing beneath the missile toad. I guess an exploding frog would produce sort of a fireworks effect, but still, the splattering organic matter would seem to ruin the romantic effect.
Then there is the bit about Santa driving the reindeer while intoxicated. That’s in “The Christmas Song” (also known as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”). Remember the line that goes “You know that Santa’s on his sleigh, He’s loaded……” Why hasn’t anyone revoked his license? Then there are the two questionable passages in that primary document: “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” (also known as “The Night before Christmas”). The father in the poem must have been imbibing himself because he says he “tore open the shutter and threw up on the sash.” But the really questionable bit is where Santa is described as “laying a finger inside of his nose and giving a nod…” Sticking a finger inside of one’s nose and giving a nod sounds like a good way to poke one’s self in the brain. This all makes Christmas seem a corrupt, alcohol-soaked, miserable affair. But everyone seems to ignore these negative aspects.
Well enough silliness.
It is so easy to pay just enough attention to get everything wrong. That is my only point, as I write these lines. God had given us a book. We often read that book with much the same attention we give to a Black Friday circular. We come away from our few moments of inattentive reading feeling refreshed and certain we have a better understanding, but do we? The question of Phillip to the Ethiopian Eunuch: “Do you understand what you are reading?” (Acts 8.30) persists.
We must remember how Jesus used scripture to answer the Sadducees. They did not believe in the resurrection, or that we survive in any form after death. They also rejected all the books of the Old Testament except for the five books of Moses. As a test of your Bible knowledge, try to prove the resurrection from the books of Law and only the books of the Law. You can. Jesus did. He answered them thus:
Have you not read that which was spoken to you by God, saying “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob (ref. Exodus 3.16)? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. Matthew 22.31-32
Jesus is an attentive reader. God has said “I am,” not “I was.” Therefore Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, all of whom had died centuries earlier, were still alive in some form. It cannot be otherwise. The few scriptures the Sadducees accepted as canonical were shown to be against them.
Jesus’ example teaches to listen closely, to read attentively, to read and read again, to pray for understanding, to reason carefully, and to never assume we have listened well enough. Otherwise we will find ourselves using God’s word as poorly as I used the words of Mel Torme, and Clement C. Moore above – and that will not be excused as silliness.