Mark 5:1-20 Then, they began to beg Jesus to leave their neighborhood. (v.17)

Wait a minute! Can it be people are actually begging Jesus to leave their neighborhood? It would seem, wouldn’t it, they would be begging him to stay?

Think of other stories from the Gospel. People were clamoring to be near him – just to touch him! Now, we read that the community is, in effect, ordering Jesus out of town. 

Well, when you stop to think about it, that incident may not be so strange after all. It happens often today. It could happen soon because having Jesus around while we are trying to celebrate Christmas just gets messy. It seems we honor Jesus with holy reverence when he fits our plans, but attack him with crucifixion rage when he gets in the way. 

So often, he gets in the way. He gets in the way when acknowledging him makes life uncomfortable. He redefines the meaning of Christmas. He has a mission for us, and we’re too busy for another agenda – working out our Christmas list, and Covid 19 has us already overloaded. 

In mid November, yard decorations were already going up at houses in our neighborhood: colorful lights, Santas and snowmen – all kinds of Christmasy stuff, bit no yard signs declaring “Jesus is the reason for the season” or “Put Christ in Christmas,”or even a manger scene. I feel sure there will be a few put up by those persons who do not mind being called radical. Caring about Jesus means caring for others, and we may not be ready for a lot of that just yet.

And Jesus, standing around, is too much a reminder. He makes us nervous. He breaks the status-quo. 

Martin Luther compared the Christian life to the problem of putting a drunk on a horse. You just get him up one side and he falls down the other. The trick is to stay on the horse, and given the horses some us have been riding in 2020, that takes perseverance and a real hanging on.

Let’s ask Jesus to stay this Christmas.
                                                                        Father Lee+