Shepherd (pastor) Lawrence Davidson (Larry the Sheep Guy) travelled through time to be part of our living Nativity scene on Christmas Eve, and then stuck around to help us all understand Concept C—Christmas.
Just one look at our Nativity scenes and he could tell: we just didn’t get the concept.
“To understand Concept C, you got to understand Concept A and Concept B,” said Larry.
“’A’ stands for stuff like A+, Antiseptic, Angelic, Alleluia and Amen. No one knew exactly what Concept A, or holiness, was, excepting we were pretty sure it wasn’t sheep poop, spit, nor sin.”
“’B’ stands for Bottom, Behind, Butt, Booger, Burp, Bad gas and Barn—my Barn.”
“I seen hundreds of yer Nativity scenes,” said Larry, “and not even one little sheep poopoo… and that there’s your problem. If you don’t understand Concept B, you ain’t never gonna understand Concept C.”
He said religious folks in his day didn’t understand Concept C neither.
That’s because religious folks are so good at playing “Hide the Stink.”
“We shepherds had already lost the game of Hide the Stink,” said Larry.
“We were unclean, and to get clean, them pastors and priests said we needed to sacrifice a lamb… and we supplied the lambs,” said Larry.
“They needed us to feel clean, but they wouldn’t touch us ‘cause we was unclean.”
“I figured we had a sick God, a cruel God. I hated God. Do you hate God?” asked Larry. “Have you been hiding that stink?”
Along about 0 (AD or BC, he wasn’t sure), while he was out “abiding in the fields,” the Heavenly Host appeared to him and the Glory of the Lord shown round about him. And the angels revealed to him, that Christ the Lord (the King of Concept A) would be born unto them and this would be a sign for them: They would find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger—Larry’s manger—”the very epicenter of Concept B.”
Religion is all about hiding Concept B in what folks pretend to be Concept A.
But this was Concept A born into Concept B, making Concept C: Christmas.
Larry found the baby and the baby found Larry’s heart… and it was funny.
He said it was like a joke deeper than this entire world—not covering the stink, but transforming all the stink into perfume.
“They were all building walls to keep the holiness in and keep me out, and lo and behold, my manger becomes the Holy of Holies!”
“And the King of Glory is a redneck—born in a barn, to an unwed pregnant teenage virgin—that’s about as redneck as you can get!” said Larry.
Thirty years later, Larry followed Jesus like a little lamb—he knew his voice.
He was the Lamb of God and the Good Shepherd.
He described how the false shepherds tried to dispose of him, like a piece of Concept B, “outside the camp.”
Larry thought, for sure, the Heavenly Host—the angel army—would appear and it would be Judgment Day.
But the angels didn’t appear, and yet it was Judgment Day.
The Lamb of God lifted his head on the tree of knowledge and Life and cried, “Father, Forgive.”
Suddenly he understood:
It was atonement, but not to a God who is cruel.
It was atonement, to a people and for a people who are cruel.
Concept A is burning Love, the judgment of God. It’s Grace.
“God consigned all people to Concept B, in order that he might have Concept A on all people, in order that all people might become Concept C. Christmas is Christ in me. The living Nativity scene is me,” said Larry. “The Sanctuary is us.”
“But it can’t happen, or at least you won’t see it happen, until you stop playing Hide the Stink.”
“We’re all looking for God—looking for Beauty, Truth, Life, and Love—and you’ll find God, but in the last place you’d think to look: ‘wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in your stinky manger,’” said Larry. “That’s Christmas.”
“And when you see him there, covered in your stink, for the love of you—well, your manger won’t stink no more. That’s Easter.”