Dr. Grant Scarborough
My oldest daughter, Jane, knows what Elvis looks like. She did from an early age. See, she grew up in Memphis, the home of Elvis. Everywhere you looked you saw him. Pictures of Elvis, young and old, were in restaurants, buildings, walls – Elvis singing on the streets – Elvis was alive and well in Memphis. Jane was only 4 or 5 back then, but every picture I saw of Elvis – I would point it out to her – “Jane, who is that?” “Elvis” she would reply. Such a brilliant child! I actually showed this off to my friends who had children not as bright as mine. Their kids could not identify Elvis.
Then one day I saw a picture of Jesus, well, not really Jesus. This was a white skinned, blue eyed, blonde hair Jesus that you see in picture books, but that looks nothing like the middle eastern Jesus in the Bible. I pointed this picture out to Jane as well. Knowing her visual acuity and her ability to recognize faces like Elvis, I said, “Jane, who is that?”
“Elvis” was her reply. “hmmm.” I thought. “Maybe she only knows the middle eastern Jesus.”
I realized at that moment I had taught my child a trick. Whenever I pointed to any picture, her response was Elvis. It could have been George Washington, Martin Luther King, or even herself – she would always say Elvis. Well I couldn’t let my friends know about this, so I always made sure I found an Elvis picture when I asked Jane the question – “Jane who is this?”
Jane is not the only person I know that has a picture association problem. If you hold up a picture of Santa Claus, I would yell “Christmas!” If you hold up a picture of a Christmas tree I would yell “Christmas!” If you hold up a picture of shopping and presents I would yell “Christmas!” If you hold up a picture of Jesus, I would yell “Elvis!” or maybe “Easter!” I feel like Christmas is getting hijacked by our culture and I am fully on board.
Christmas has turned into a holiday of making ourselves happy. Whether by getting presents or giving them, as long as we are happy, then Merry Christmas to all. I want my wife and kids happy from the presents they get, and I have joy by making them happy. If you only knew how much thought I put into finding the perfect presents to get my kids. Listen, I am not against happy – I am actually really really for it! But we have settled for less than happy. We have settled for presents from an earthly daddy. 1 John 3:1 reads, “Behold what manner of love the Father has given unto us, that we should be called the children of God! And that is what we are!” John adds exclamation points and reaffirms his statement with “And that is what we are!” It is as if, John himself does not think we will believe this statement.
Christmas is about a heavenly Father who breaks into our little galaxy to give the greatest joy he could – himself in the form of a baby. He crashed down from heaven on a rescue mission for you. He is born to a 13, 14, or 15-year-old girl living in a poor area of ancient Isreal. The universe explodes with angels singing, wise men traveling, stars glowing, and priest praising. He is born, so that we cannot just be rescued, but renamed. He came for us, so that we can be called sons and daughters of God. Our greatest joy is not from an earthly dad giving us a few trinkets, but our heavenly father giving us the gift of being His child.
Oh, I pray, we will reclaim Christmas this year. Hold out for the best present. Hold out for Jesus. I pray you know this Joy!