Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Jesus Is Coming To Town
I was 9 years old when my grandmother told me that Jesus was going to be coming back on Christmas Eve.
My grandmother always seemed to have insider evangelical information, mainly stuff discovered from years of theological studies, but from time to time, bits of prophesy was acquired from late night infomercials as well.
Either way, I recall thinking 'who in their right minds proceeds to tell a nine year old something of this nature?' As if I would be elated, having already lived a good long life, sowed my wild oats, and come to the conclusion that I wanted the Lord to hurry up and take me out of this God forsaken place already...not so much. My days consisted mostly of tea parties and amusement parks, so the last thing I was looking forward to was being "raptured."
It was a few days before Christmas Eve and in the way misery loves company, also does shear panic and anxiety, so I decided to break the news to my 7 year old brother. Needless to say our holiday vacation didn't have that carefree air about it that it used to. When Christmas Eve finally arrived I remember my brother and I were on our best behavior, not wanting to bicker or fight, or use the restroom much for that matter...I mean who wants to be taken up mid-tinkle? The day proceeded to go by as usual and still no second coming. By this point the anticipation had consumed our every thought and we saw little purpose in leaving cookies & milk out for Santa or wasting time dreaming of sugarplums or the gifts that would never be opened.
My mother had decided to put us to bed at a cruel hour that night, around 8 o'clock, so that "Santa" could get an early jump on things. To her curiosity I passed up a night in my own cozy bed and instead chose to roll out my sleeping bag on my brother's floor. I figured this way when it happened I would know immediately, rather than risk being left behind, and not discovering this chilling fact until the next morning when I would wake up in a tinsle decorated ghost town.
Needless to say, these were the longest 4 hours of our entire lives. My brother and I were both glued to the clock, watching as final minute, after final minute ticked by. At this point I'll note that yes, it was a given that Christ worked according to Central Standard Time. We were small children and didn't realize he had other options. And then, finally, the moment had come. The clock read 11:59. It was J.C.'s last chance, and man, had he really drug this whole debacle out...but really, who can blame him, you only get to orchestrate a second coming once, right?
I don't think either of us took in one ounce of oxygen for that entire minute. And when the clock finally struck 12, and the blue started to leave our little faces I remember wondering how my grandmother must be feeling right at that same moment. Was she embarrassed by her miscalculation; was she up, feverishly writing Robert Tilton hate mail; had she perhaps simply shrugged it off and headed back to bed thinking 'oh well, maybe next year.' Did she even realize that she complete robbed her two precious little grandchildren of the joy of Christmas this year?
All I know is that we never told our mother, in fear that she wouldn't let us go over to grandma's house anymore, so obviously her positives must've outweighed her negatives.
By the way, that Christmas she gave me a bike and $200 dollars, which goes to show she had somewhat thought ahead and couldn't have been all that invested in this whole rapture on Christmas Eve idea. And years later when I asked about this landmark moment in my childhood, she laughed and told me she had just gone to sleep that night, same as any other, just as I suspected.