Wise men came bearing gifts of gold and..."what?"
- 2008/12/25 17:39:46
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The 'message' was given by the husband. He began by pulling out 3 different size gifts, asking the children to show by raised hand who would want the biggest gift, the medium sized gift, and the smallest one. The preacher then talked briefly about how the best gifts sometimes come in the smallest packages.
Then he launched into a convoluted story about the gifts the wise men presented to baby Jesus. He pulled out of his pocket, a bar of gold. (He told the audience that it was fake, and been sent to his aunt from a credit card company as a gift.) For some reason, while passing it around to the kids, he felt it necessary to talk about the price of gold per ounce in various decades, the price of gold today; but never got around to talking about what gold was worth as a gift back in Jesus' time.
Then he pulled a box out of his pocket. He asked the kids if they knew what the other gifts were given to baby Jesus. He told all of us that he had both Frankincense and Myrrh to "show" the children. He said they were not allowed to touch these sample gifts like the bar of gold, because the "government considered it poisonous."
HUH? My husband and I looked at each other, both wondering if we had heard the man correctly. Then a little hand shot up in the air. My 9 yr old asked the minister- "Why did the wise men give baby Jesus poison?"
I was barely able to contain my guffaw! My husband pinched me, which made me laugh outright. The minister turned to the crowd and smiled, then, IGNORING my son's perfectly reasonable question, proceeded to tell the kids how frankincense and myrrh were harvested, and that myrrh was used to cover up the smell of the dead.
That was it. That was the 'message'.
The rest of the service was similarly uninspiring, and downright depressing. How people go to these sermons week after week, listening to preachers and ministers tell you how miserably you have failed as a human is beyond me. At each point in the service the 'word' is that we are all unworthy, sinful, weak and greedy.
Though I am atheist, I have a profound respect for the principles Jesus taught. Looking at both my young sons, I realized that I am doing a far better job as a parent in giving my boys a working knowledge of those values than any church I have experienced.
I believe that "god" is the ideal of what a man is capable of becoming in his lifetime. That man, with care and consideration in his decisions, is capable of living peacefully with other men and in harmony with the earth.
I am responsible for my actions. I do not need the threat of hell, or the promise of a reward to do good and be good.
To be continued...
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