I couldn’t help but chuckle at the conclusion of tonight’s edition of Coach’s Corner on CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada. Cherry’s shtick was his usual combination of lightly-informed, opinionated bravado and Canadian hockey machismo, but as is increasingly often the case, it was also the opportunity for him to step up his soap box.
After being asked what he thought of Washington Capitals head coach Bruce Boudreau’s profanity-laced tirade during a timeout this week, Cherry remarked that “at least he didn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.” This was followed by the amazing assertion that in all of Cherry’s days in minor-pro hockey, he heard a lot of swearing but none of it involved abuse of the Lord’s name (hmm… I’ve spent my share of time around hockey players over the years, and have yet to come across such selective [or virtuous] swearing. But Cherry was in moral-instruction mode so why bother with facts?). Cherry ended his segment with a reminder to “all you kids out there” that Santa Claus and presents and all that are fine, but not to forget that Christmas is “the Lord Jesus baby’s birthday.” Because really, what would an intermission in a hockey game be without a sermon? Strange times.
Of course, according to an article from The Globe and Mail that I read this morning, Santa has replaced God as the locus of our holiday hopes. Apparently, Santa is starting to receive some letters that sound an awful lot like prayers (does this mean that we have to refrain from taking Santa’s name in vain now, too? I guess I’ll have to tune in to the hockey game next Saturday night to find out). We Canadians are indeed a spiritually-eclectic and confused bunch, but we haven’t given up on hope.
National hockey broadcasts, letters to Santa Claus from full of desperation and longing from people of all ages… it’s amazing the places that God makes an appearance, however muted or implicit, and in response to however inadequately conceptualized and articulated hopes.
Not a lot different than the first Christmas, suppose.