Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Watch Out For the Red- Nosed Neighbor, Maybe He’s Contagious!

Ed, my neighbor next door, had trouble dealing with me last week after he saw my red nose. Of course, he wanted to know if I was competing with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. He asked, “What is wrong with the end of your nose? It looks like you have a flesh eating disease. You’ll scare the kids and make adults cross the street.” If his cell phone hadn’t interrupted him who knows how much more he would have said. Once Ed gets worked up on some topic, it can seem like a week before he runs dry of words.

My neighbor’s greatest concern was that I had some contagious thing on my nose that looked worse than ringworm. He told me that these days a person cannot be too careful, maybe I have some new thing like Ebola only on my skin. He also offered that since I have spent a lifetime with my nose in books, maybe it’s a kind of mold from reading limitless, musty books.

I knew Ed would question what I was doing to my nose, even under the direction of a dermatologist. I have had to apply prescribed cream on my nose for the last two weeks. Sun and weather damage had left my nose in need of a renovation. The cream was mean stuff that does a demolition on the old skin so healthier skin can replace it in time. It was a treatment that felt awful, and chewed up the area treated, but I needed to do it. I assured Ed that there was nothing contagious about my nose and that he wasn’t likely, to become my kissing cousin. The thought of us being related sent Ed home to settle his nerves with a drink of whiskey that he keeps for times of troubled thoughts.

Everyone has some troubling thoughts, for example, something that could be contagious concerns us. We try to avoid picking up a virus that could cause us suffering in the future. We live in a world that does not have a cure for everything.  It doesn’t make sense to invite trouble into our lives. Health alerts and quarantines try to prevent folks from needlessly getting sick. God’s word shows us teachings, that we can prove so we will hold fast to what is spiritually healthy, joyful, worthy of prayer and thanksgiving. Today many forget that they are not just a body but both a body and a soul. We each have a soul that is the spiritual part of each of us or our connecting part to God.

Many seem to feel the tug of their soul at Christmas. The baby Jesus laid in a manger seems non-threatened, and the humbleness of the nativity story soothes souls. The baby Jesus is contagious in that He offers in himself hope in God towards all sinful people. Jesus came into the world to save sinners. When people read God’s word and test it by their personal lives; they will see they are sinful. This sinfulness recognized is not, so they despise themselves but that they may meet the fullness of God’s mercy and goodness in Christ. He is the sinner’s cure who keeps us sinners blameless in body and soul before God.

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Raymond Maher
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