This story was originally published in a collection entitled “Wake Me for the Resurrection”, and is reproduced here with permission and attribution. The author is Robert Kirby and the publisher is Slickrock Books. The book was published in 1996, and was illustrated by Pat Bagley. In the email Kirby sent which granted permission to use the story, he said: “By the way, this story is 100 percent true. “Larry” and I were office partners when it happened. He’s still a good friend. I just won’t home teach him.” I don’t know what to make of that claim. In order for the story to be true, it would mean that home teachers were out making their visits before the last day of the month. Does that sound plausible to you?
Jingle Bell Rocks
by Robert Kirby
One of my friends had a special Christmas experience late the other night. Larry was watching television at home when his son came in from a date and said that there were some suspicious looking characters hanging around the bushes outside. Concerned that it might be vandals or thieves, Larry got up and checked. When he didn’t see anything, he went back to the television. A few minutes later, Larry’s daughter called from her bedroom and said that she saw a couple of shadows scurry up the driveway. Larry checked again and still couldn’t see anything.
Finally, when he heard something bump against the garage door, he knew it was prowlers come to steal. Larry quietly slipped out the back door and gathered up some rocks. Quietly moving to the corner of the house, he peered around it. Sure enough, there were a couple of guys skulking in the bushes near Larry’s new truck.
Larry admitted later that he was throwing to kill. His first rock hit one of the prowlers in the head hard enough to drive sparks out of the guy’s ears. As additional rocks thudded into them, the prowlers fled shrieking into the night. Larry pursued them, bellowing obscenities and threatening to kill them. Even though he got in some more good solid rock hits, the prowlers still managed to get away.
Returning home, Larry examined his vehicles and his property. Everything was fine until he found a ruined fruitcake near the bushes where the prowlers had been lurking. A note on the mashed cake read: “Merry Christmas from your home teachers.”
I didn’t make this story up. Right this very minute there is an ex-home teacher in Utah County with eleven stitches in his head and a really sour attitude about Christmas. Larry feels just awful, although probably not as bad as the home teacher. However, all is not lost. Somewhere in the vicinity there are bound to be a couple of happy lawyers.
The moral of this Christmas story is that just because you’re operating in a Christmas frame of mind, it doesn’t mean that everyone else is. Ergo, spreading Christmas cheer can be a risky proposition.
The proper frame of mind is important if you’re going to keep Christmas in its proper perspective. More than 2,000 years ago, Jesus Christ quitely gave the world the greatest gift possible. No, not a fruitcake, smart aleck. I’m talking about Salvation.
Over the centuries, the world has come to take Jesus’ gift for granted. So much so that today the gift is largely invisible in the glut of materialism that has come to mark the birth of the Savior. We have chased Christ out of our lives with glitter, parties, and a selfishness so casual that we don’t even recognize it as such. After all, who needs Salvation when you’ve got an American Express Gold Card?
Granted, few people are as mean-spirited during Christmas as Scrooge. Most of us have just gotten dull when it comes to why we do what we do at Christmas. Next to Salvation, the greatest gift is human irony. We’re all so busy doing for ourselves that we routinely forget Christ’s message of selflessness.
Give someone a real gift this Christmas, someone you might otherwise ignore. Look them in the eye and tell them that you care about them. You might want to call Larry and let him know that you’re coming, first.