Friday, December 21, 2007

take 1xday and call in the morning

(Read Zechariah 7:8-10)

Don't you just love some of the commercials
shown on television these days? Especially
the ones by the pharmaceutical companies,
that want to pitch you something that is so
wonderful (and usually so expensive) you
should immediately call your doctor and
demand a prescription.

Of course, to fulfill certain requirements
about truthful advertising, they add the
disclaimer at the end. Much like the fabled
'small print' in a document, the disclaimer
is usually spoken so softly and quickly one
cannot understand it. Typically, it is something
along the lines of 'this medication may cause
minor reactions like heartburn, upset stomach,
aches and pains, yada, yada, yada.' They
even mention severe reactions; one this morning
said, 'in some rare cases, death has occurred.'
Huh?!? I want to feel better, not die.

Makes you wonder what might happen if
such disclaimers had to be provided on that
first Christmas. "Peace on earth, good will
to all people." Disclaimer: believing this
message may cause certain side effects like
loving your enemies, turning the other cheek,
going the extra mile. In a few isolated cases,
wars may come to an end."

"Do not be afraid; I bring you good news
of great joy." Warning: taking this joy more
often than prescribed may lead to outbursts
of song, a strong desire to spend time with
people (even some you don't like), and some
changes in your eyesight which allow you
to see sunrises, sunsets, and leaves changing
in the fall with new eyes.

Of course, God put on all those disclaimers,
all those warnings, all that fine print long before
the birth of Jesus. In the words of the prophets,
we are told over and over of the one who would
come, to completely overturn our world, to set
right all the wrong we have done, to bring new
life to those who are dying. Jesus came, not
to be some cute, ceramic figurine in a creche
we bring out from the basement or attic once
a year. Jesus came, simply because he was
the only medicine that can make us better.

So be careful. Walking the path to Bethlehem
may send you home a different way - through
the alleys of all those places of poverty and
brokenness you have learned to avoid.
Listening to Jesus may cause you to speak in
a more caring and loving way to others.
Following him into the streets of the kingdom,
may cause painful foot problems. Taking
up your cross and following him, may give
you callouses. In some extreme cases,
hearts have been transplanted as certain
individuals have radically altered their

Prayer: None of us like to take medicine,
Physician of our souls, but all of us can feel
better, do better, be better if we just took
Jesus on a daily basis. Amen.

(c) 2007 Thom M. Shuman

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