Pastoral Ponderings—Stable or Fable?
I heard a new Christmas song on the radio from a couple country singers. It had a nice, even Christmassy sound to it, but as I was listening to the chorus, I was all of a sudden disturbed. It sure sounded like the line was saying “This FABLE tells the story of the distance You (God) will go…” But a fable is just “a fictitious tale… conveying a moral…” according to one dictionary, or “a legendary story” in another. I couldn’t hear the next verse with being disturbed of the lyricist reducing Christmas to a fable! But then the next time the chorus came around with a different voice, the words were clearly “That STABLE tells the story of the distance You will go…”—MUCH more like it!
I looked up the lyrics on line to make sure I was getting it right. Sure, I’m probably a little off, listening so closely to the words, but I was blessed or cursed– I’m not sure which– by a grad program instructor with a pet peeve on words, often urging for clarity and re-iterating “words have MEANING,” so be careful the words we choose. The real word in the song is “STABLE,” but the song goes to show how easy it is to send the wrong message, even if unintentionally. Makes me wonder if we do that as a church to those in our community—whether at Christmas time, or the rest of the year—how well do we share what it’s REALLY all about, rather than talking about Christmas as just a nostalgic fable, or a nice backdrop to another warm and fuzzy story.
I hope you’ve seen the banner we have out front to help invite our neighbors to unwrap with us “What it’s REALLY All About.” We have a few of the yard signs left that would just look beautiful in your yard! We’re also doing a mailing with a post card with the same theme and image to all our church folk—but it’s not really for you! It is intended to make it easy for you to invite your neighbors, a co-worker or whomever, and we have more you can take with you from church to share too!
While WE can always use the reminder that it’s more than just a fable, it’s even more important to remind other wondering souls with whom we connect who may still looking for HOPE, PEACE, LOVE and JOY in their lives, what it’s REALLY all about. So pick up some cards, write your own note on them, take some next door, to work or wherever—and ideally share it with an invite and a plate of Christmas cookies!
The STABLE tells the story of how far God is willing to go to reach us—make sure your neighbors know it’s more than just a fable! And let’s unwrap what it’s REALLY all about… Rev. Jim