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Do me a favor. Type the word ‘Jesus’ into the Google images search field and see what comes up.
Thousands upon thousands of images of a long-haired, bearded, youngish, granola-crunchy, tree hugging types is what you’ll get. You know the make love not war, hippy type from the 1970’s.
So just last week just as I was contemplating what type of Christmas tree to get- how tall, how fat-I happened to walk by the temporary tree shop that crops up every Thanksgiving just down from my apartment in Harlem.
This year it was the same two guys as last year, Adam and Michael.
Both are from Vermont. At least they spend most of the year in Vermont when they’re not selling Christmas trees.
Both are hippy types.
Both look a lot like the fictional, popular portrayal of Jesus, the movie version. Michael is even a carpenter.
Right then it struck me as funny and interesting that Jesus is selling Christmas trees in my neighborhood; or at least someone who bears a resemblance.
I told him to strike his best messiah like pose, took the picture, laughed about it with him and some customers and left.
A few days later I remembered the photo and posted on social media writing quote: “Look who’s selling Christmas trees in my neighborhood. He says his father sent him. Think he’s the real one? Hmm.” (Photo above)
The responses came immediately.
The first few on twitter read:
“It figures your Jesus is white.”
“Come on bro…white Jesus and the saturnalia tree?…….yea I said it, keep it 100 Don…smh”
On Facebook someone wrote, “Jesus was not a white man. Who are you these days?… Take a serious step back and think things through.”
Another poster wrote, “Oh man, I can’t even joke about something like that, especially not on a Sunday. A Christmas tree and the Messiah…ugh! Sorry Don, not liking that.”
Someone else wrote, “To all my good strong black people. Don Lemon is an Uncle Tom. You shouldn’t be shocked by it.”
I don’t take any of those comments personally because those people really don’t know me. To me everything is material for either a news story or a commentary.
But the post that really inspired me to discuss it in this commentary was from a poster called Soulful Body Movers who wrote, “Don, you didn’t do anything wrong, this post was a “good thing” and the issue was overdue for discussion, and I think it’s the reason why you got such a great response. I love Christmas and a good laugh! Love Conquers ALL, Peace and Love Everybody!!!”
That’s my kind of person; someone who takes nothing personally or too seriously; especially a Christian who doesn’t judge. Imagine that?
Anyone who has read what the Bible says about Jesus, knows his origins and what he might have looked like- dark with wavy hair with darker features. But do we know for sure? NO.
But what I do know for sure is for those of us who have studied the Bible is that even Jesus had a sense of humor.
Is it really that important that Jesus looked like us black or white or whatever? Isn’t it more important that we act like him and lighten up? And turn the other cheek?