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Shepherds, Angels, and a Star

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Christmas is an insane time of the year isn't it? So much so that some of us can't sleep. We stay awake deciding what gifts to give to our family and friends, and then wonder how we will afford it all. Little children are busy wondering what to ask for. Young Tommy, for example, looked longingly at his friend's dog. "My mother won't let me have a dog for Christmas." he said. "Maybe you're not using the right strategy," his friend replied. "What strategy do I use?" Tommy asked. "Don't ask for a dog," the friend said, "ask for a baby brother, then you'll get a dog."

Actually, what we Christians believe does sound bizarre. And since God sent His Son long before CNN or Fox News, He used shepherds, angels, and a star. A child is born, but a Son is given. This child was a Son before time existed. He is all of God and all of man. He possessed all the humanity of a child, but all the divinity of Almighty God. He became thirsty, but He walked on water. He became hungry, but He said, "I am the bread of life." He took a little bread and a little fish and fed five thousand people. He could grow tired, but He declared, "Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. That's tough to explain. It even seems a little bit insane.

A story came across the Internet recently. Whether it's true or not is unknown. It is allegedly a report from the Center for Strategic and International Studies on global organized crime. According to this report, FBI agents conducted a raid on a psychiatric hospital in San Diego that was under investigation for medical insurance fraud. After hours of reviewing thousands of medical records, the dozens of agents had worked up quite an appetite. The agent in charge of the investigation called a nearby pizza parlor with a delivery service to order a quick meal for his colleagues. The following conversation took place and was recorded by the FBI because they were taping all conversations at the hospital.

Agent: Hello. I would like to order nineteen large pizzas and sixty-seven cans of soda.

Pizza Man: And where would you like them delivered?

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Agent: We're over at the psychiatric hospital.

Pizza Man: The psychiatric hospital?

Agent: That's right. I'm an FBI agent.

Pizza Man: You're an FBI agent?

Agent: That's correct, just about everybody here is.

Pizza Man: And you're at the psychiatric hospital.

Agent: That's correct. And make sure you don't go through the front doors. They are locked. You will have to go around to the back to the service entrance to deliver the pizzas.

Pizza Man: And you say you're all FBI agents?

Agent: That's right. How soon can you have them here?

Pizza Man: And everyone at the psychiatric hospital is an FBI agent?

Agent: That's right. We've been here all day and we're starving.

Pizza Man: How are you going to pay for all of this?

Agent: I have my checkbook right here.

Pizza Man: And you're all FBI agents?

Agent: That's right. Everyone here is an FBI agent. Can you remember to bring the pizzas and sodas to the service entrance in the rear? We have the front doors locked.

Pizza Man: I don't think so. Click. Buzz.

I can identify with that pizza man. I can also relate to a former FBI agent who now specializes in searching for lost heirs of estates to let them know they have a large inheritance. Now doesn't that sound like an easy job? He says that it is the worst job in the world, because the heirs don't believe him. They think he's a patient at a psychiatric hospital!

Pastors have a similar job. To many people it sounds insane. Every week we tell them about their inheritance. Christmas is our busy season, and we tell them that they are incredibly rich because of this child Jesus who was born in a manger. We are so rich that one day we will experience all of the riches of eternal life. Most of the world thinks that is crazy. I say make my Christmas carol Still Crazy After All These Years.

It's Christmas! Let the insanity begin!

P.S. Ironically, I worked in a psychiatric hospital so I know real insanity. While there I met the Apostle Paul – his roommate was Napoleon.