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The Ministry Fantasy
Thomas F. Fischer
- Number 336
- Fantasy can be fun. Letting ones imagination run wild can sometimes give
individuals a sense of relief or euphoria from the routine of daily living. Small children
often engage in fantasy in their play, even developing imaginary friends. These fantasies
are healthy and facilitate a childs ability to develop various developmental skills
needed later in life.
- In many ways Christmas is also a fantasy. One need only reflect on many of the songs of
Christmas to discover that. How many people have "chestnuts roasting on an open
fire?" Does anyone hear "sleigh bells" outside their door? What percentage
of the worlds population actually has a "white Christmas"? If Christmas
is, indeed, a "silent night, holy night" why are law enforcement officials on
the job investigating break-ins which occur on Christmas Eve?
- All sentimentality aside, who has ever seen flying reindeer? Given two billion children
under people, even if all of these children under the age of eighteen were not
"naughty" but "nice," how could Santa possibly visit even just the 15%
of children that dont believe in SantaMuslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist?
Pastors know how difficult it can be to get in even 20 or 30 more home visits a month. How
is Santa going to visit 91.8 million homes in less than 12 hours, plus or minus a few to
adjust for time zones?
- The Christmas Fantasy Exposed
- Dirk Talasse in his article Santa Claus: Scientific Inquiry Into the Virginia
Postulate posits that it in order for Santa to make these visits the total Christmas
trip would be 75.5 million miles at the speed of 650 miles per second
times the speed of sound. Given that "conventional" reindeer can run
approximately 15 miles per hourwith a tail wind, topssomething seems strangely
out of whack. Just imagine the "G-forces" that Santa would experience from over
four million pounds of force. (I hope none of the gifts fly off the sleigh!)
- One must also, however, consider the drag of a sleigh carrying approximately 321,300
tons of toys (estimating one small toy for each of the children in the 91.8 million
homes). Of course, we all know that Santa himself, at well over 300 pounds, doesnt
help lighten the payload either. Can nine reindeerincluding the magical one with
that funny red nosedo the job? Not at all. Talasse estimates that one would need
over 353, 430 reindeer to provide enough "horse" power to pull this off. And the
deer still cant fly.
- If this whole consortium of deer, sleigh, tons of gifts and a jolly fat man in red could
get off the ground, the combination of speed and the resulting heat from air resistance
would create heat far more intense than that experienced by space vehicles during re-entry
into the earths atmosphere. Absorbing 14.4 quintillion joules of energy per
second, the entire reindeer team would vaporize in 4.26 thousandths of a second.
- Unfortunately, Christianity also promotes the fantasy. As if being overwhelmed with the
out-of-control materialism which marks Christmas isnt enough, how can intelligent,
thoughtful Christians imagine that "the little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes"
could in any way be true? Did Jesus not cry? How else did this holy infant make His needs
known? Telepathy? Dreams? The bat qol?
- Perhaps the biggest problem with fantasy is that it becomes a substitute for reality.
When the fun of fantasyincluding the Christmas fantasybegins to take on a
quasi-reality, this fantasy becomes an instrument of denial. Perhaps the biggest problem
with Christmas is that so much of what we hear, experience and celebrate is based on a
- The Real Christmas
- The real message of Christmas is quite different from the fantasy. Jesus, the newborn
member of the human family, was not "cutchy-cooed" and loved by all. Members of
the family didnt even want Him. How many hundreds of relatives did Mary and Joseph
both have in Bethlehem?
- Yet not one family member appears to have helped in the least. Naked, hungry and without
a place to stay, the worst thing was not that there no room in the inn. The worst thing
was that no family would help or assist in any way. "He came to His own, and His own
received Him not." So much for the fantasy of the "family get-together."
- Within days of His birth, still in the "euphoric" twelve days of Christmas,
Simeon announced that this child would die a horrific death. This news of His ignominious
fate certainly did not result in a chorus of "Deck the Halls."
- Perhaps isolated outside the village limits of Bethlehem, the Christmas family did not
have a tree, lights or gifts. All they had was a crisis
and too little to make do. A
Baby was being born
and all they had was a place with animals, hay and a manger.
- But the Baby, nonetheless, was bornrejected, isolated and alone in a sinful world
bent toward His destruction. Remarkably, this one called Immanuel gave us what we needed
most: a rooting in the reality that God IS with us.
- The Ministry Fantasy
- As many are driven by the Christmas fantasy, many in ministry are driven by a ministry
fantasy. We believe that everything should be perfect, celebrative, loving. There should
be no conflict, no disappointment, no rejection and no pain.
- Isnt it interesting how the Christmas fantasy has so much in common with the
ministry fantasy. As the Christmas fantasy obscures, occludes and hides the reality of
Christmas, so the ministry fantasy also obscures and hides the reality of the experience
- The reality is that both Christmas and ministry entail rejection, disappointment, dashed
expectations, neglecting Gods gifts, etc. The sending of the infant Jesus to be our
Savior gives us the greatest reality. In spite of what we experience, God really is with
us. As long as we do not give up that reality, the reality of a ministry rooted in the
proclamation of Law and Gospel will do exactly what God intends: destroy the fantasies
that perpetuate sin and create real faith, real ministry, real hopes.
- As the Christmas song proclaims, "The hopes and fears of all the years are met in
Thee tonight." Real Christmas and real ministry is full of hopes and full of fears.
In Christ, however, the hope is greater than the fear. Indeed, Christs presence with
us overshadows that fear.
- That is the message the angels gave at the very first announcement of Christs
- "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.For unto you is born this day in the city
of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" Luke 2:10-11 (KJV)
- That is the reality of Christmas. This reality is greater than any fantasy. It is the
reality of grace, of comfort, and of joy. Even as God has been with us in past millennia,
His promise is to be with us in the coming millennium. "Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
has come to you, O Israel!"
- Thomas F. Fischer
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was revised on:
Tuesday, October 05, 2004 11:03:36 PM