SATURDAY’S CHILD: The special ones
Jose Mourinho is not the only “special one” at the Chelsea Football Club in England. One in five children surveyed at a mall in England believes that Jesus plays for Chelsea and is probably one of the new stars signed by Mourinho earlier this year. This puts Chelsea not just at the top of the table but the head of it as well. There was a story about a kid who saw a sign and thought that Jesus was Chelsea’s goalkeeper. The sign said, “Jesus Saves.” Actually half of the children, aged between five and ten, also believed that all the festivities on December 25 are in honour of Santa Claus whose birthday we celebrate on that day.
Even more astonishing is that more than a third of the children (about 35 per cent) believe that Jesus was born in the South Pole (the other half, the North, belongs to Santa). Getting things even more mixed up, one in every ten of the kids is convinced that Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer was in the stable in Bethlehem when Christ was born. They’re not too sure about Olive.
So how did Rudolph get there? Well, unlike the shepherds he flew. About 25 per cent (one quarter) of the British kids knew that some shepherds found Jesus but believed they had help from superior technology. They used Google Maps. What about the Three Wise Men? While the survey did not ask the children about how the wise men kept faithfully to the path, despite field, fountain, moor and mountain, most of them seemed to know that they followed a star. What it boils down to is that there are different WAZE of getting to Bethlehem.
Incredibly, 27 per cent of the British children believed that Mary gave birth to Jesus in a church. Which means that for some of them their image of what happened must be pretty wild. There is Mary in church, Joseph probably in the manger to ensure that the relationship remained stable so Jesus the Chelsea footballer would not be traumatised, especially since he had to deal later in life with the temperamental Mourinho, who might be there already trying to sign him early while shepherds, with smartphones and laptops, shuttled between sites and Santa, being pulled by Rudolph and jeered by Olive, attempting to get there with his gifts for Christ before the Wise Men arrived, or even taking the place of Jesus as the birthday boy despite their being poles apart.
Many of the kids said that instead of gold, frankincense and myrrh, the wise men brought a wand, tiara and wings.
Not all kids are so naïve or uninformed. A Mafioso’s son sat at his desk writing a Christmas list to Jesus. He first wrote, “Dear baby Jesus, I have been a good boy the whole year, so I want a new . . .” He looked at it, then crumpled it up into a ball and threw it away. He got out a new piece of paper and wrote again, “Dear baby Jesus, I have been a good boy for most of the year, so I want a new . . .” He again looked at it with disgust and threw it away. He then got an idea. He went into his mother’s room, took a statue of the Virgin Mary, put it in the closet, and locked the door. He took another piece of paper and wrote, ‘Dear baby Jesus. If you ever want to see your mother again . . .”
But while some people may argue that as a matter of fact the facts are not necessarily facts but stories that children might be better off not knowing, there are still some who see the traditional Christmas, with its mix of the Christ tale and the Santa stories, the blend of religion and fantasy, the White Christmas of Bing Crosby, as positive.
Long ago, when I was a boy, going to an Anglican School, Christmas was a happy time. Even now, we still continue the tradition of reserving that time for family. I no longer go to the Midnight Mass at the nearest Catholic Church but Christmas continues to be special with the occasional break for reflection and thanks. Santa is a myth. Some people think that Jesus is too.
However, mixing them up and believing that Jesus is a Chelsea player is really going too far. Mourinho already thinks he’s God. Remember that Jesus is a pacifist and advocates turning the other cheek. That means we have to rule out Arsenal. No way He would have anything to do with a team known as the “Gunners”. Spurs? No. He is all for people coming closer together and representing a common cause – in other words He is for oneness. So if he ever becomes a footballer, there is only one club Jesus would play for – Manchester United.
Tony Deyal was last seen asking “How does Luis Suárez like his Christmas lunch?” Bite-sized.