Yesterday it was a cool, clear evening. A perfect Friday night to go to the movies. We, however, happened to go to the grocery store. But it is conveniently located across the street from a popular multiplex and I noticed throngs of people queued up for ticket sales, confirming my suspicions.
I also noticed a human voice shouting something that I could not quite understand. But then it seemed to be coming from another direction. Oh, there were two men shouting. I thought perhaps there was a protest of some sort going on, and being the curious individual that I am, mentioned it to Cristy. She always knows more about current events than I, so perhaps she knew what the protest was all about. On this occasion, she did not. But being the curious individual that she is, decided just to drive on by and find out first hand.
I didn’t gather that it was a protest, per se. It appeared to be a group of evangelical Christians. They were holding a banner that included a message with the word ‘sinner’ prominently featured. Another one of the men had a digital camera, I suppose for taking photos of passers-by. There weren’t any people stopping to smile, I noticed.
The shouting voice was growing louder as we approached. We drove toward the movie marquis, wondering what film could be causing the protest. Surely there was some movie that initiated this gathering of what appeared to be disapproving Christians. We scanned the list of films, but didn’t see anything out of the ordinary Hollywood fare.
So then, what was the fuss about? Why the shouting? As we drove toward the exit, there was another clump of individuals at the sidewalk who seemed to be appealing to movie-goers as they walked by, one man extending his hand in which he appeared to be holding a Bible.
Hmmm, we thought perhaps they were simply encouraging people to reflect on the true spiritual connection with Christ, during this season of Christmas, the celebration of the birth of the son of God. God’s selfless gift to the people of the Earth. But that didn’t make much sense, because they seemed so angry, you know, with all the shouting.
Christianity is full of paradoxes, I guess. If these two groups were attempting to spread the message of connecting with the central meaning of Christmas, the wonder of the birth of Jesus, then why so much anger? I believe the birth of Christ is about pure joy, awe and humility. According to the stories we have all heard, the visitors to that manger who were fortunate enough to witness the miracle, did so thoughtfully, reverently, treading ever so quietly.
I love the trappings of the season. More is more. Glitter, sparkle, twinkle, merry and jingle all the way. But it doesn’t mean that I do not pause to reflect on the birth of Christ, the struggles and faith of Mary and Joseph, the gift to humanity. It is the essence of that divine gift that demonstrates God’s love for us all. No, I have not forgotten.
But why present it to us in such angry tones? Why go on a recruiting mission condemning those you wish to befriend?
Perhaps before going out in public for an organized awareness or recruiting campaign, it might be a good idea to review some of the fundamentals of marketing and sales. Just a thought.