Right now, many men are obsessed with that age old question: “how can I earn major brownie points this Christmas?” Well, if you want to find the road to Christmas success, it’s always advisable to follow those who have blazed the trail before you. And who better than those we now call “The Three Wise Men”, all because they mightily impressed an important woman that long ago Christmas.
What did they do that was so wise? First, they brought gifts. No matter what your wife says, a package under the tree is non-negotiable. But not just any package. I heard the woeful tale of one husband who bought his wife a scale. As my husband said, that level of stupidity doesn’t come naturally. You have to practice.
The gift, then, must be good. The Wise Men came bearing gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I’m sure Mary greatly appreciated those things. I’m equally sure she and Joseph promptly sold them to pay for their flight to Egypt, thus ushering in that other sacred Christmas tradition of returning gifts for the cash.
The Wise Men’s gifts, though, did show great forethought. They brought gifts to honour a king, just as you must buy gifts to honour your queen. But the wise men remembered that first rule of Christmas gift-giving: under no circumstances should you buy her something you think she needs. First, you’re probably wrong; and second, even if she needs it you’re bound to buy the wrong one. If she needs it, make a date to go buy it together on Boxing Day. Don’t make it a gift. The Wise Men, after all, didn’t bring diapers and Vaseline, though those would have been useful. They brought something symbolic of who Jesus was to them. So think romance, not necessity. Think meaningful, not useful in the laundry room. It’s the wise way.
I think the difference between Christian humour and non-Christian humour, though, is that, as Christians, our humour isn't meant to make us feel superior. Or at least, it shouldn't be. Humour is just funny, about finding the absurd in everyday life. Too often humour is used to denigrate others, and that's something that we should not do as Christians. It's better to laugh at ourselves.
I really think that if Christians started using humour more, as they wrote, we would start to see some walls coming down. People would be more willing to listen to us if we're funny. And we'd get rid of that stodgy stereotype we too often bear.
I've been working on more comedy when I speak, and I'll leave with this short clip of a recent Girls Night Out talk I gave on the Western Ontario tour. I hope you think it's funny; I had fun with it. Now I just need to figure out how to make it funny when I translate it to paper rather than live!
Sheila is the author of four books, including How Big Is Your Umbrella: Weathering the Storms of Life. She blogs at To Love, Honor and Vacuum, and you can read her columns and articles at http://www.sheilawraygregoire.com/.