Monday, November 30, 2015

I Got Shoes: Christmas Edition

Years ago, about this time of year, radio stations would play the occasional Christmas tune.  You’d smile on the inside, content in the gentle reminder of the season.  It was a simpler time.   Everybody loved Christmas music.  Unfortunately the radio folks noticed our collective affinity for Christmas songs, and followed the distinctly American axiom that if something is worth doing, it is worth overdoing, and 24/7 Christmas music was born.  Within a year, nearly all the stations had jumped on the band-sleigh with them.  Everyone except the country music stations and NPR.
It was during this time we learned just how few Christmas songs there are.  False.  We learned how many the radioheads know, which is about three (and one of them isn’t about Christmas so much as drinking beer with an old flame in a car because the bars are closed for Christmas Eve, which my friend Daniel tells me is patently absurd because all the bars in Decatur are open, and he’d like for you to join him in caroling at them this year). [1000 points for the first person to accurately identify title and composer of this song, and a bonus 1000 if you figure out how to make it never, ever play again].
But that is not the worst Christmas song of all time.  According to Frank Brock’s epic bad Christmas song tournament (I have the CD in my office if you’d like to listen), the title of worst Christmas Song Ever goes to the Christmas Shoes song.  About five or so  years ago I think it was, the radioheads decided we as a nation needed nothing more than to hear this, uh, compelling story of a young boy out to buy his mom some shoes in case she met Jesus that night.  How very Daniel Webster of him.  So they played this song.  Over and over.  And over.  And then again.  It was so “popular” that they made an equally abysmal movie out of it (starring, I believe, Frank Brock).  Truth is, it’s polarizing.  Some folks love it like Linus loves his blanket and look forward to its return as much as the Peanuts Christmas special.  I...am not one of those people.
In his excellent post, “The 5 Best Ways to Survive Christmas Shoes,” Jon Acuff says:
Don’t try to negotiate with it. Much like fear, the Christmas Shoes song cannot be beat with logic or rational thinking. Don’t waste time with questions like, “Where is this kid’s dad? Does he have a dad? Why shoes? Why not a Christmas dress? Why not a delicious bowl of queso? Has an 8 year old ever successfully purchased a women’s shoe in the history of mankind?”
There’s real wisdom in that.  It’s better not to question.  Unfortunately it got me wondering.  Vacuous theology aside, if we meet Jesus in whatever we die wearing, what would you like to be wearing when you meet Jesus?  What do you suppose would really impress Jesus?
How about that lovely Easter dress or suit you bought back in March?  After all, you bought it to celebrate His triumph over death, right?  Or maybe you’re worried that Jesus would rather see evidence of your servant heart.  Better put on that plastic apron you were wearing when you served on the line in the soup kitchen.  And maybe those plastic food service gloves for good measure.  Don’t cheat, now.  No fair saying, “Jesus wouldn’t care, because Grace.  It doesn’t matter what we’re wearing.”  That wasn’t the question.  If it did matter, what would you want to be wearing when you meet Jesus?
I believe Jesus would want us to wear whatever we usually wear.  “Come as you are,” he’d say.  Not because it doesn’t matter.  It does matter!  Jesus calls us to be exactly who we are.  We don’t have to dress up, and we don’t have to dress down.  What we do have to be is genuine.  It’s not about the coat we wear but the cloak we gave away with it.  It’s not the shoes we put on our feet, but the second mile we walk in them that that reveals the Christ within each of us.


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