“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”— Luke 2:10.
A number of years ago on some TV talk show, the question came up among a group of journalists: If you could go back in time, through history, and have a one-on-one interview with any one individual, who would it be?
The answers, as I recall, were as varied and wide- ranging as the journalistic types themselves, but I found that question to be fascinating.
If I could professionally interview any one historical figure of my choosing, the dateline on my subsequent story might be the same somewhat presumptuous one as this column’s. For given the opportunity, how could any journalist turn down the chance to interview Jesus of Nazareth?
And since this is the season of both magic and miracles, let’s suppose that a little of both allowed that most remarkable interview to actually take place. While I can’t be sure, of course, I have an idea it might go something like this:
QUESTION: Sir, is it true? Is the story really true? Born in the manger? Died on the cross? Are you really the Son of God and is it really through a belief in you and an adherence to the principles you set forth, that man can transcend mortality and move toward a unity with the Almighty?
ANSWER: Well, that’s getting right at it, isn’t it? My son, you need not address me as “Sir.” After all, I have known you on rather familiar terms for quite some time. I was paying pretty close attention to you even when you weren’t quite ready to acknowledge it. Let’s drop the formalities and just chat, shall we? And I think that the answer to your all-inclusive question is obvious. After all, you are talking to me in Heaven aren’t you?
QUESTION: Sorry, you’ re right. But given that, I suppose you would have to be, huh?
ANSWER: Yes, I think that’s the way it works.
QUESTION: OK Let’s try this one: What interests you most about mankind?
ANSWER: That they first bore so quickly of being children on their way to growing up, and then, once there, they so long to be children again. That they lose their health trying to make money and then lose their money trying to get back their health. That they try to live as if they will never die, then die as if they had never lived. You human beings are, in many ways, some very self-destructive creations.
QUESTION: “Creations,” yes, you would use that term: Throughout the body of your teachings flows a consistently parental theme. As a parent, then, what are some of the lessons you most wish your children would learn?
ANSWER: Make your- self comfortable, son. I’m afraid I may have to talk a while on that one. I wish they would learn that they cannot make anybody love them, they can only allow themselves to be loved; that what is most valuable is not what they have in their lives, but who they have in their lives. I wish they could learn how to forgive by practicing forgiveness, and that two people can look at exactly the same thing and see it totally differently. I wish they could learn—you know, there really has been quite a lot of evidence supporting this one—that money can buy everything but personal happiness. I wish they could learn that there really are other people who love them dearly, but simply don’t know how to express that feeling; that a real friend is one who knows everything about another but chooses to love him anyway. And for so many, I wish they might learn that it is not enough to be forgiven by others—I do quite a bit of that, you know—but that they must also forgive themselves.
QUESTION: Wow. Well, I had a lot of other questions, but somehow they don’t quite seem appropriate after that. I know you are busy and I don’t want to take up too much of your time...
ANSWER: Ah, yes, “time.” You folks really are big on that, aren’t you? Do me a favor, son. Tell everybody to quit worrying so much about time: they miss out on quite a bit that way.
QUESTION: Me do YOU a favor? Me do something for YOU?
ANSWER: Sure. Haven’t you figured out yet that’s the way it works? You folks aren’t just there to provide amusement up here, you know. I work through you for others and through others for you. You people are so busy looking for miracles, that you almost always overlook all the little ones that happen around you every day. You know, you folks have been at this for quite a while now, it looks like you’d wise up sooner or later.
QUESTION: I don’t think I’ll ask any more questions. They seemed good at first, but...I do want to thank you, though, for all you have done for all of us and particularly for granting me this interview.
ANSWER: No problem. Actually, there never is. I’m here 24/7, as you folks say. All any of you have to do is ask me your questions and I’ll always answer. Now, go and tell folks that—again.
Ray Mosby is editor and publisher of the Deer Creek Pilot in Rolling Fork.