Sit Down Comedy … December 20th, 2019

Jonathots Daily Blog

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Sit Down Comedy

Culture Wars

They’re fought among people who know they are pretty much the same as one another but are still kind of pissed off about it.

They arise in this time of Yuletide because nobody can decide if Christmas has earned its wings as being universal, or whether it’s offensive to Jews, Muslims and atheists.

I suppose it makes for good conversation on talk shows, or among the more argumentative.

But for me, it’s never been simpler.

It is so much like God, to have a reverent event promoted through tinsel, red costumes and talking Christmas trees.

How do I know this? Because if you’re God and you made people, you know that folks are much better when they’re given relevant things instead of reverent things.

So I will break it down in my homespun manner:

 

The story of Jesus gives you a manger.

Yet

Santa is the great manager.

 

Jesus provides angels.

But

Santa brings the angles.

 

Jesus embodies the love of God.

Then again

With Santa, you feel the love of God.

 

Oh, come all ye faithful

Yet

Santa reaches the faithless.

 

There were shepherds tending their flocks in the field

But

Elves tending the toys by night.

 

Jesus: “Peace on Earth”

Then again

Santa: “Good will toward men.”

 

Unto us a child was born.

Then

We can be reborn a child.

 

Wise men came bearing gifts.

So

Santa continues the wise tradition.

 

Jesus is our great CEO.

But don’t forget

Santa heads a wham-bang sales force.

 

Joy to the world, the Lord has come,

Let Earth receive her King.

 Jesus and Santa come join the fun

And pray the world can be one.

 

Jesus is the reason for the season

But

Santa brings the dough for the show.

 

 

Ask Jonathots … December 22nd, 2016

 Jonathots Daily Blog

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Do you think there’s a need for saying “Happy Holidays” as opposed to “Merry Christmas?”

Mary and Russell were my parents, and when they birthed me they named me Jonathan Richard Cring.

I had an uncle who immediately dubbed me “Johnny.”

One of my older brothers called me “Rock.”

Aunt Mary thought I was better suited to “Little Jon.”

I had one friend, Mack, who always enjoyed referring to me as “J.”

Many, many friends rejoiced over proclaiming me “Big Jon.”

One business associate in Nashville, Tennessee, recognized me as “J. R.”

And of course, countless folks have shortened my Jonathan to just Jon.

At no time during all these transitions did I lose my identity, nor fail to respond to a beckoning.

Likewise, Christmas does not lose any of its impetus by being referred to as “Happy Holidays”–especially when you consider that the word “holiday” is an Old English version of “Holy Day.”

Jesus is not diminished by “Season’s Greetings,” since he is the “reason for the season.”

And even the tiny handful who might call the occasion “Winter Solstice” are still surrounded by innumerable manger scenes dusted by snow.

Yes–the critics are outnumbered.

Sixteen million Jews worldwide may celebrate Hanukkah and twenty million African-Americans may honor Kwanza, but two-and-a-half billion people over the Earth worship the Baby of Bethlehem.

It’s not even close.

And when we become defensive over the terminology of Christmas, we miss the whole point of the message of “Peace on Earth, good will toward men.”

We fail to recognize that Jesus, himself, said “those who are not against us are for us.”

So a Jewish family which lights a candle, and a family in the inner city of Chicago which dresses in African garb and jubilantly trumpets the celebration are certainly not against the Christ child.

Jesus was not defensive.

Jesus did not insist on silencing those who had different opinions, but rather, welcomed questioning.

So I will tell you, it doesn’t matter what people say to me–what I hear is “Merry Christmas.”

And may I point out–it is impossible to hide, disguise, obliterate or even marginalize the effects of that one solitary life which changed the dynamics of the planet–whose birth even set time in motion.

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Don’t let another Christmas season go by without owning Jonathan’s book of Christmas stories

Mr. Kringle’s Tales …26 Stories ‘Til Christmas

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An advent calendar of stories, designed to enchant readers of all ages

“Quite literally the best Christmas stories I have ever read.” — Arthur Holland, Shelby, North Carolina

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A Season for the Reason … December 7, 2011

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Live from Fernandina Beach

Frantic isn’t sexy. Frantic isn’t fun. Worse, frantic is never productive.

On those rare occasions when I find myself late, driving somewhere, the first thing I do is take my watch off and set it aside and refuse to deal with time anymore. Honestly, I’m not going to get there any faster by wondering how late I am and I greatly increase the possibility for calamity by fretting and becoming frantic.

I know religious people think there’s not enough Jesus in Christmas–and average folks think they just don’t have time for Christmas–especially this year, when we’re supposed to think about politics and economic issues while considering the birth of the Prince of Peace and the fifty per cent off sales at the mall. 

No, nothing works in life unless you set aside a season FOR your reason. Nothing happens of any true quality unless you’re willing to participate instead of just watch or surround yourself with the experience.

Sitting in a church on Sunday morning listening to people sing Christmas carols, I was astounded at how such invigorating lyrics and jubilant notions could dwell in such a monotone drone. It’s not that the people don’t believe in what they’re singing–it’s just that in the midst of “step three” of their day, they’re already contemplating “step five.” How can step three be any fun if the aggravation of a fifth step is already gnawing at the corners of your mind?

Christmas probably brings one of the greatest potentials for real emotion, nostalgia and rebirth that comes across the calendar each year. But merely acknowledging the need to buy gifts–or even the gift of God’s son in a manger–does not make the experience ample.  Everything of value in life has to be valued. To do that we have to set aside a season for the reason.

You don’t have to do it every day–but one day during the Christmas season you should participate in three activities which will transform your holiday from a race into an experience:

1. Go out to a Christmas tree farm. Park your car and sit and watch people buy their trees for thirty minutes. They usually bring children who are hopping around, who remind you of the enthusiasm you once had for the whole experience of a cut-down pine which ended up stuck in your living room with lights on it.

2. Drive from the Christmas tree farm over to your local homeless shelter. Take along a fifty dollar check that you were foolishly going to spend on someone who really won’t care one way or another. Ask them to give you a fifteen-minute tour of their facility. Shake some hands. Taste the chicken salad they’re serving for lunch. Stay for the meal, if you can. And at the end, give them the fifty dollar check and thank them for their work.

3. End the day by going to the mall and buying yourself a peppermint sundae with hot fudge on it. Sit on a bench real close to the Santa Claus Exposition. Just observe the children sitting on the old man’s knee. Let the memories return. Let the feeling of the reason re-occur to your aching spirit.

Nothing happens when we’re frantic. Nobody is blessed by an explanation of how important something is–not until we set aside a season for the reason do we remind ourselves of the beauty of honoring the Birth of Hope. It’ll just take a morning. It’s your way of reclaiming your life from a schedule often not of your own making–and certainly not ordained in the mind of God.

So Merry Christmas–and do yourself the greatest blessing of all.

Go out there and make a season for the reason.

***************

Here comes Christmas! For your listening pleasure, below is Manger Medley, Jonathan’s arrangement of Away in the Manger, which closes with him singing his gorgeous song, Messiah.  Looking forward to the holidays with you!

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