by Donna Morton
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A cousin shared a story with me about a lady who vacationed in a New England resort sometimes visited by actor Paul Newman and his family. One day, the lady ventured into an ice cream parlor where the only other patron was Mr. Newman himself. He acknowledged her with a polite smile and a flash of those famous blue eyes.
After placing an order for an ice cream cone, the woman vowed not to act like a star struck teenager. When she left the shop, she did so without even glancing in the actor’s direction.
When she reached her car, she realized that she had a handful of change but her other hand was empty. “Where is my ice cream cone?” she asked herself. “Did I leave it in the store?”
Back inside she went, expecting to see the cone in the holder on the counter. No cone was in sight. Flustered, she happened to look at Mr. Newman, who wore a friendly grin as he said, “You put it in your purse.”
It’s funny how people react in the presence of celebrities, despite the old expression, “They put their shoes on just like we do--one foot at a time.” Maybe so, but that doesn’t stop a lot of regular people from melting down or over-reacting when their feet are standing next to a famous pair.
Something about celebrities can zap non-famous folks with tongue-tied giddiness, speechless awe or the “I’m-acting-like-an-idiot-and-I-can’t-stop” syndrome. For instance, I witnessed a group of professional, middle-aged men revert to stuttering, bumbling adolescents when Marie Osmond entered a room. I saw Magic Johnson pounced on by autograph-seekers as he attempted to leave an airplane lavatory. I know a typically laid-back lady who once lost her head and chased Steve Martin for several blocks through Manhattan--and she must’ve had crazy eyes because he ran like the dickens.
I don’t know what it is about celebrities that bring out the dork, the dramatic or the dormant teenage emotions in otherwise normal people. Nor do I know what specifically makes celebs deserving of ga-ga admiration and more gold than King Midas. What have they done that’s more impressive than firefighters who save people from smoky deaths? Why do they bank more bucks than teachers who won’t abandon difficult students? What has entitled them to the best seats, meats and treats in life?
No doubt, they’re certainly deemed as being powerful, influential and worthy of all things wonderful. Companies seek their endorsements, politicians want their support and society shells out money to watch them perform.
Why is it that people don’t have as much fascination with Jesus Christ as they do other famous personalities? Oh, I’m certainly not lowering Christ to the level of fully human sports, entertainment and corporate leaders, but He IS more famous than anyone else, no matter how much they command per movie, per game or per technological invention.
Nothing has altered the course of mankind more than the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. For over 2000 years, His presence has resulted in more goodness, positive change and hope than anyone else could dream of accomplishing. He has been the adored and revered subject of more art, literature and music than any person to ever live. He has fulfilled over 300 prophecies, right down to the tiniest details.
Yet, He’s ridiculed and rejected. His teachings have been twisted and called fables. Some people, at best, will acknowledge Him “a good man” but won’t call Him the Son of God. Others boldly scoff at His divinity, curse His name and persecute His friends. Many people simply ignore Him. Even some who claim to believe in Him only believe what suits them.
Most agree, it would be hard for a famous person to survive such public response. After all, who could possibly endure such controversial, deceitful or hostile circumstances?
Well, Jesus has always survived them and triumphed over all. Even crucifixion wasn’t enough to silence and stop Him, and someday He’ll impact the entire world in yet another way that nobody else ever has.
…”that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2: 10-11 NIV)
And then, everyone will know they’re in the presence of a real star…the only One truly worthy of all things wonderful.
©Donna G. Morton February 2008
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Sorry, I hit the wrong button and erased my comments. I had to laugh out loud while reading your first part about Paul Newman and the ice cream cone. While entering an elevator I came face to face with Greer Garson (while in my 20's) and she just smiled at me knowing I had recognized her. Leaving in Dallas one has the opportunity of crossing the path of celeb's from time to time, but just like the rest of us, something happens inside us when we see a famous person. If you ever figure out the "why" I would sure like to know. You are so right in saying JESUS IS THE STAR and HE always will be. Thank you so much for sharing this. GOD BLESS YOU.