Not Just a Frog

This is an adapted form of my sermon for the Nativity of Our Lord, December 24, 2018. As usual, this Christmas Eve sermon took the form of a dialogue between Kermit the Frog and myself. Kermit’s lines are in bold print. 

If you’d prefer to watch a video of this sermon, check it out on my Facebook page. Go ahead and “like” my page while you’re there!

Merry Christmas! It’s hard to believe that Christmas is here again. Weren’t we just here yesterday?

Hey-ho. Kermit the Frog here. Merry Christmas, Johnsonville!

(to Kermit) What? Who are you? Why are you here?

Who am I? I’m Kermit the Frog. And as for why I’m here, I’m here for our annual Christmas Eve sermon. We always do this together.

We most certainly do not.

Are you kidding? Every year, I come here and we talk. Once or twice, I even sang a song for everyone.

Really? You sang?

Yes, I did. And ahem I sing better than you, if I do say so myself.

That’s weird. Isn’t that weird?

Yes, it is pretty weird. But it’s quite true.

Well, okay. I can’t imagine Kermit the Frog would lie to me. But you know what’s even weirder?

What?

I have no memory of any of this. I don’t remember you being here at Christmas before.

How tight is that ponytail tied?

Not tight enough, apparently.

So. Umm… how’s Christmas going?

I don’t know. I guess. I mean, it really doesn’t feel like Christmas to me this year. Remember how Christmas used to be?

Oh, yeah. I’ve had some great Christmases. There was the time we all went to Fozzie Bear’s mother’s house. The time we saved the Muppet theater from Joan Cusack. Oh, the time we spent Christmas with John Denver! We recorded some great music that year.

Yeah, Christmas. So much fun, so much music. So much…blah, blah, blah.

Blah, blah, blah?

Christmas used to seem so special. It was the best time of the year. But this year – I don’t know. Maybe it’s because of all the news this year. Maybe all the tragedies we’ve seen. Maybe it’s…

Maybe it’s that you’re not a kid anymore?

Hmm? What do you mean?

Things are always more magical when you’re a kid.

That’s the word! Christmas just isn’t magical anymore.

Right. To children, Christmas is absolutely filled with magic. Children believe in magic. Tell you what, why don’t you tell me the Christmas story now?

I already told it, Kermit. Some dude and his fiancée went to Bethlehem, and she had a kid there. Then some angels told a bunch of shepherds that the kid was the savior of the world, and then the shepherds went and saw him. The end.

Doesn’t that sound magical? I mean, not the way you said it. That was terrible. But think about it. A young man and woman are far from home, and they have a child there, all alone, in an alley or a barn, no less. But then a bunch of shepherds showed up, and they say that a whole army of angels had just proclaimed that this child was the Messiah! Think about that – the savior of the world, born in a barn! That’s pretty magical!

I guess it is. But that’s the problem.

That’s a problem?!?

Yeah, because the magic is just gone these days. Christmas has become all about fighting. People fight over whether retail clerks should say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays.” People fight over what color Starbucks Coffee should make their cups. And this year, everybody seems to think that the true meaning of Christmas is whether or not the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside” belongs on the radio or not! There’s no magic. Just fighting!

Do you remember the first time I visited Johnsonville on Christmas Eve?

No, I don’t.

Then I’ll remind you. That night, you started an argument with me about what the real meaning of Christmas was. I scolded you because you seemed to think that Christmas was about picking fights with people. You seemed to think Christmas was about arguing with puppets!

No, I didn’t.

Yes you did!

No I didn’t!

Yes you did!

I did?

Yes, and after you realized I was right, you know what you told me? You said that Christmas wasn’t just about the baby Jesus. Christmas is about God coming into the world, showing up right here. You said that it all started with Jesus, but God is still showing up today, coming in the most surprising ways. And sometimes we don’t even recognize that it’s God.

Oh my gosh. You’re right. I’m starting to remember something now. Didn’t I say something about thinking it was my job to protect Christmas, that it was my job to keep God in Christmas. And didn’t I realize that I was wrong? Because God is in Christmas no matter what I do, because God is everywhere. That’s what God does. God comes to us. All the time. And Christmas is about God doing that it in the very last place we’d ever expect. Like a manger. Or like a Muppet!

Right! That’s what you said!

Was I right?

How should I know? I’m just a frog.

Just a frog. Oh, that’s right, Kermit! You’re just a frog! You’re just a frog! How could I forget about these Christmas visits? You’re just a frog!

Now, hold on. There’s nothing wrong with being a frog.

Of course not. And there’s nothing wrong with a grown man talking to a frog.

Okay…

Not on Christmas, anyway. Because my mother always told me…

Oh, not this again.

My mother always told me…

Don’t say it. You’ll just embarrass her. And yourself. And me.

My mother always told me that on Christmas Day the animals can talk.

Yes, but…

And you’re a talking frog on Christmas.

Yes, but…

So that means that Christmas does have magic, even now, even for me.

Yes, but… I’m not a real frog.

That’s okay. They don’t know that. (pointing to the congregation)

What?

No, follow me here. Of course they know that you’re a puppet. But they also know that there’s something very special here. Some of these people actually look forward to these Christmas Eve sermons, because there’s something so…well, magical about them. And it doesn’t matter if you’re real or not! What matters is that it means something to them. And other people look forward to the music we sing tonight, or to the special lights and decorations, or to Silent Night.

Kermit, tell me it’s just music. It’s just light bulbs and candles. It’s just poinsettias and fake trees.

Okay. It’s just music. It’s just light bulbs and candles. It’s just poinsettias and fake trees.

No, no, it’s not! It’s so much more! Because people find meaning in it. People find meaning in all the things we do here tonight. People find meaning in all the other ways they celebrate Christmas, all the family traditions and movies and songs. And how is it possible that they find such meaning in ordinary, everyday things? How is that even possible?

I don’t know! How is that even possible?

It’s because Christmas is magical. And Christmas is magical because God is here. I had forgotten that. I had gotten so wrapped up in how Christmas used to be, that I forgot that Christ is always here, even if things change. I forgot so much. I guess we all need this reminder sometimes. Even pastors.

Especially pastors.

All right, Frog. Anyway, thanks so much for reminding me of the magic of Christmas.

You’re quite welcome, and Merry Christmas.

Merry Christmas, Kermit.

And Merry Christmas to you all!

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