David sat by his desktop entranced by the screen; fingers flashing expertly across the keyboard. He thought that he might possibly get the monthly accounts report in on time. Then he was interrupted yet again by the sharp snap of the letterbox. Another card had arrived.
As part of the excellent service we at Tesco seek to provide for your fullest enjoyment, please use the enclosed gift voucher to maximum effect this Christmas. We offer a 5% discount on all items for the week leading up to Christmas.
Merry Shopping, and may Santa be with you always.
David hated this kind of junk. His thumb slipped between two fingers, dragging a long jagged rent along the card. He crumpled the advert, and hurled it at the bin. It fell short, tumbling along the carpet and coming to rest by a similar green card from Marks & Spencers, as well as a corpulent crimson Santa from Asda.
Inflamed, David made his way back to his den. He stole a furtive glance at the row of benevolent cards on the mantelpiece—those his wife had not agreed were “a bunch of trashy propaganda by lying leeches.” He squelched into his padded seat, gulped from a large can of Coke, and released a satisfied burp. His wife complained at his working the festive season. But if she wanted to be any better than the paupers she shared her church with, he had to bring home the bacon. And whether she liked it or not, his bosses were the pig farmers. Eyes dry, he continued to work.
The phone rang. After a minute of beating around the bush, the Mrs. asked him to fetch their children. “Please, 3:00. Not like last time,” she pleaded. So David pressed both shoes against the carpet and heaved himself out of his seat. He waddled through the front door and clambered into his Jaguar. Soon Sam and Elie rushed at him, singing merrily. All the way home they were quoting scripts from the Christmas pageant. A serious danger of dozing at the wheel!
When he got home, a pair of Christmas evangelists were waiting at his door. He quickly sent them packing with the remark “Even my five-year-old girl can tell you that story!” They insisted he take a flier, and he reluctantly agreed. A poor quality printout with repulsive format: worthless. As the bin was out of his way, he stuffed the sheet into his pocket and squelched back into his padded seat, gulping from another can. He finished his report at five to five, made a few minor edits, and sent it off. Lacking anything better to do he fished the flier from his pocket and unfurled it. Though the layout was atrocious, the content plucked a heart-string, plucking a sound that resonated deep within his gut and told him it was true.
It was a novel take on the subject of Christmas: based upon John 1, it emphasized the idea that Jesus was God sacrificing himself to save mankind. Scarcely mentioning Mary, shepherds or astrologers, it described the reason for it all. Peter knew enough of the Bible and visited his wife's church upon occasion. He believed that he was safe from any Hell. Then at the bottom of the flier, catching his eye as if encrusted in angelic halos and spoken to him by a bona fide prophet was a seemingly unrelated verse. “No man can serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money” planted within a paragraph on the commercial Christmas
When his wife came home, she found him crying. On his computer screen were countless verses from an Internet Bible. Highlighted in each verse was “Money”. On the desk Peter's Rolex watch, cellphone, and palmtop, lay in pile beneath an “unneeded” post-it. On Christmas Day Peter rose and walked shamelessly to the front of his wife's church and testified that he had been serving money and himself, and that Jesus peeking through one of their fliers had saved his soul.
In heaven Jesus was reminded again that all had been worthwhile. Another lost sheep had come home. And the angels had an especially jubilant Christmas party.
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