Christmas Town: Chapter Seven, Part 1

Well, I’m sure you’ll all be shocked to hear this, but life sucks for Jordan.

The decorations are being taken from the building where they’re stored, and down from a couple of buildings where they’re already up.  And it sucks to be the movers, too, as they have to deal with the angry shouts and the tears of the women and children.

Yep, apparently the teachers did just let the kids run out into the streets and witness the moving of Christmas decorations.  That way, they can watch it all and cry.  It’s one of those moments they’ll remember forever.  Thanks, teachers of Bethlehem!

And people are coming from the mill, too, so I guess the whole town just decided to STOP LIFE because of this event.  No wonder the mill is in such disarray if the whole town just goes out into the streets with pitchforks every time something unexpected happens.

Then again, this probably is the most exciting thing to happen in Bethlehem in at least fifty years…

Needless to say, Jordan feels like shit, but it’s worth remembering that it was either sell the decorations or…not pay anybody for the month of December.

“And Merry Christmas to you, too, Mr. Scoville!” someone shouted as Jordan elbowed his way through the crowd.

“Scrooge!” came the cry from another direction.

Yes, it’s perfectly natural to think Jordan is Scrooge.  Because things were going so fantastically in this town before he showed up.

Hmmm, thought Joella, I wonder if this selling off of the Christmas decorations has anything to do with the fact that the mill is closing and at least one of the guys who’s been running it for years is a doddering old fool?  Nahhh…

I get that Jordan feels like he can’t tell anybody the truth about the Uncle Billys pissing away the mill workers’ future, but they still all knew that they weren’t living exactly in a boom town.  I understand the emotional need to find someone to blame, but this animosity has, according to Joella herself, been going on since Jordan rolled into town.  It doesn’t make the townsfolk look like warm, good people.  It makes them look irrational and naive.

Jordan is honestly starting to have some concern for his own safety (!) when Joella calms down the entire town through TEH POWER OF PRAYER.

“Pray with me,” she was saying to the people around her.  “It’s the only thing we can do.  Our anger can’t make a difference, but our prayers can.”

The entire town of Bethlehem was praying, hands linked, voices stripped of their rage.

whoville

So, basically, they’re pulling a Whoville, except the Grinch didn’t steal the Christmas hoopla—he sold it so the Whos could get paid.

Jordan heard the familiar words.  Deliver us from evil.

Anger swept through him.  He supposed he was the evil they all hoped to be delivered from.  How could he even blame them for believing it?

I would just like to point out here that Jordan, the hard-hearted non-church-goer, is being far more charitable and empathetic with the townspeople than they are being with him.

Jordan also agrees with me about the efficacy of prayer:

“It’s not going to work, you know,” he said [to Joella].  “Your God isn’t going to change my mind.”

YOU ROCK, JORDAN.

“I’m not praying for God to change your mind.  I’m just praying for God’s will to be done.”

Maybe God’s will is for the Christmas decorations to go bye-bye, Joella.  You sanctimonious, manipulative…

Grrrr…

Seriously, this is what I don’t get about prayer.  If God really is omniscient and omnipotent, then he knows what everyone wants, and is doing what he wants anyway.  Why bother asking God for anything (even for his own will to be done) when I have been told a thousand times that God already knows what is in our hearts?

Oh well.

As Venita pointed out in a previous chapter, there is “nothing reasonable” about the town’s reaction to Christmas.  Because losing their jobs and their homes might be one thing, but now the town’s Christmas decorations (which never even belonged to the townsfolk in the first place) have been sold, now they have a reason to get angry.

Man, I am tired tonight.  The Grinch Jordan beats a hasty retreat, and we’ll catch up with him tomorrow.

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Posted on December 16, 2012, in Books, Christmas, Christmas Town. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Yeah, I’ve always found it interesting how “Your will be done” usually translates to “my will be done.” Some folks never actually consider that God’s will might be exactly what is happening.

  2. The only way the townspeople (and Joella) make any kind of sense is if they’ve been actively lied to about what’s going on. Did the Uncle Billys tell them that Jordan was coming to loot the place or something? I thought the town was supposed to know that the mill was bankrupt. Do they not understand what this means?

    What does Joella want to change Jordan’s mind about? Does she think he has the power to pull money out of the air if he just put his mind to it? WTF?

    • We’ve already seen that the Uncle Billys are the sort who always have a reason why their screwups aren’t their fault and they’re the innocent victims here. The townspeople who love them might well have swallowed those excuses and fixated on Jordan as the Scoville it’s okay to resent. (Alternatively, the townspeople foolish enough to swallow those excuses might be the only ones left who love the elder Scovilles. Either way works.) And the townspeople who resent the whole Scoville family will naturally take it out on Jordan if he’s the Scoville at hand. (I will be amazed if we see any townspeople who have no problem with Jordan but resent the elder Scovilles for screwing up at the mill.)

      But yeah, it does seem like Joella and a lot of the town are subscribing to magical thinking – if Jordan only cares enough, he’ll figure out a way to save the town!

  3. Well, if you’re Tim LaHaye, you can rescue any random mill town out of petty cash. But somehow I don’t think that many Christian-TM authors are in that position. And I agree with depizan: the underpinnings of this situation just don’t make sense.

    This is why Christian imprecatory prayer is a silly idea – it’s fine when your god is one of many, which is the situation for which it was invented, but it falls apart completely when there’s only one god who knows everything and is perfectly good. The only value prayer has in that setup is to the person who’s doing it.

  4. Maybe Jordan could just donate all the Christmass ornaments to the town and say “They’re yours now, and that’s all we have left for you. Here’s the adress of a guy who wants to buy em. But hey, if you think food is for the weak, feel free to keep em.”

    And yeah, pray for ‘God’s will to be done’ sounds really silly. The guy is omnipotent, I’m pretty sure he doesn’t need help to have his will be done. I’ll mentally translate that to “I pray for God to agree with my will and make it his will.”

  5. Hmm, so a righteous innocent is taking upon himself the blame, scorn, and punishment for the sins of others, so that all may be saved? A sort of substitutionary atonement, if you will? Where have I read this story before? Oh yeah: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe.

  6. Actually . . . as much as it kills me to ask . . . how close to Christmas is it at this point in the story? Could the schools be out on vacation already and that’s why there’s kiddies all around? (Or perhaps the schools are so far in the red like everything else in this town that they closed up early for Christmas to save on heating?)

    And if the decorations are downtown, maybe it’s the non-mill workers (hey, there’s gotta be four or five of them around!) who are weeping and wailing and gnashing their teeth.

    (Sorry, I hate defending the author, but I can see it as possible.)

    • The book is a little fuzzy on dates, but school is definitely still in—there are several references to Nathan running over to Jordan’s office the moment the last bell rings.

      And mill workers and non-mill workers are all wailing about it. 😉

  1. Pingback: Deconstruction Round Up, December 21st, 2012 « The Slacktiverse

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