Another Parson Brown question - Why So Serious?

A friend alerted me to a 'discussion starter' in Christianity Today last week. The last four words of that sentence sound sorta funny, huh? I don't read the magazine because I've never found anything in there that made me snicker, giggle, or hunker over and belly-laugh and the only kind of Christianity I desire today and any day is one that allows for the thunderous guffaw. As the Joker pined - why so serious? Anyway, the article was centered around the lyrics of our traditional Christmas carols. Some churches are being very selective about which carols they sing this season...some churches apparently considering banning certain carols - for example 'Away In A Manger' - because of questionable lines/theology like 'no crying he makes' which seems to run counter to the get-down-and-dirty-in-our-messy, a.k.a, the incarnation.

Have I already used the line why so serious? Yep, I have, well let's go ahead and make it two.

There were other voices in the piece, like my friend's, that lobbied for some yuletide sanity, but the fact that someone felt compelled to start such a discussion speaks volumes about a Christianity that today often needs to make much ado about something. But dear, dear Parson Brown, the flag waving bravely above it all is the banner of orthodoxy and that's important, right?  Well, dear, the lyrics I've always boogied to in the shower are His banner over us is love. That other banner, orthodoxy, has flown above many a corpse on many a battlefield as heaven wept.

I'm not a theologian nor do I play one on tv. I am, at least for these Advent days, a lowly parson. I will say this about 'Away In A Manger' - I sincerely believe there were moments when no crying he made, slivers of nanoseconds when the swaddled Son of God was still, still, still. These were spots of time when Mary and Joseph looked at each other and said mercy, all is calm, all is bright. And then, wouldn'tcha know it, the little drummer boy dropped his sticks and Melchior stumbled knocking over the frankincense and the One born to die let loose with a squeal to make humanity proud as the mother of God and her man sighed the sigh of joyous exhaustion and took, once more, to tending the little lord Jesus awake in the hay. Joseph looked up and noticed Clarence the angel standing in the corner, leaning forward in grinning adoration humming it really is a wonderful life...and the ox and lamb kept time.  


  1. oh boy, do i especially love that last paragraph. all those words and images jumbled up together--makes me feel a little bit drunk. (i mean that as a compliment. that's how i often feel when i read my fav authors.)

  2. Thanks, Miska...I take that as a compliment!

  3. Fantastic.

    Just tonight, our son knocked on our bedroom door. When my husband opened it, our son started singing "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as if he appeared at our front door as a caroler.

    Is that one on the list?