Eavesdropping on half of a conversation can be dangerous thing.
I was recently at a party and was telling a friend about our new Great Pyrenees puppy, those fluffy white dogs that grow up to be ginormous and awesome guardians of farm critters.
This friend has a couple of Great Pyrenees, so I was picking her brain for doggie wisdom. She reminded me how essential it is to establish yourself early on as leader of the pack, especially with dogs who will end up being the size of a Volkswagen Bug.
She said one of her Pyrenees growled at her a little bit one time and she took advantage of that teachable moment by jumping on top of the dog, wrestling it to the ground, firmly grabbing its head in her hands (while lying on top of it, mind you), and growling loudly in its face. From that time on, she said, that dog never challenged her authority.
There are so many things I could write about that story, starting with, “If that’s what one has to do to train these dogs, this whole Great Pyrenees thing may be doomed to fail for the Crums.”
At the very least, this story seems to need a “don’t try this at home unless you know what the heck you’re doing” warning attached to it.
But what I most want to share here about my friend’s story is the fact that about halfway into it, another lady walked up within earshot of our conversation. It was just about the time my friend was saying something like, “Yeah, I jumped on him, wrestled him to the ground, laid on top of him, grabbed his face in my hands and did this (growls and snarls).”
I wish you could’ve seen the expression on the face of the befuddled eavesdropper. Priceless. I knew she was coming to many wrong, but funny, conclusions when she began sheepishly edging away saying, “Ohhhhh-kay, I realize I must have missed part of this conversation, but...”
She had no idea my friend was talking about training a dog, so I can only imagine what was going through her mind. It’s definitely going on my party small talk greatest hits List.
The takeaway lesson here is that it’s always better to get the WHOLE story before jumping to conclusions. Not doing so can be embarrassing, awkward, confusing and misleading -- or even catastrophic, especially when it comes to forming wrong conclusions about Jesus Christ.
This time of year we sing about sweet baby Jesus sleeping “away in the manger,” but it’s crucial to remember the rest of His story. Christmas is pretty meaningless if we forget that Jesus is also the omnipotent God who will come again riding a white horse as the conquering King of kings to destroy the forces of hell, once and for all, with just a word from His mouth (Revelation 19:15).
He came to earth as a baby, but that baby is ALL grown up now.
Or we can focus on gentle, merciful, loving Jesus, going from village to village healing and teaching -- and forget that very same Jesus says He is the ONLY way to the Father and everyone who rejects that truth will spend eternity in hell.
Jesus is indeed perfectly loving and merciful, but He’s also perfectly just, and ignoring that leads to conclusions that are not just wrong, but tragically wrong. We can’t be saved if we won’t admit we need saving by the only One who can save us.
Jesus isn’t just Christmas baby Jesus; He’s also Sermon on the Mount Jesus, Good Friday Jesus, Easter Jesus, and Second Coming Jesus.
Let’s get the whole story and then come, let us adore Him.
Mary Ann Crum (maryanncrum.com) lives in Abbeville and is the author of two books, “A Giggle Goes a Long Way” and “Live.Learn.Laugh!” She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.