“Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.” – Leviticus 19:27
When David was told about this, he sent messengers to meet the men, for they were greatly humiliated. The king said, “Stay at Jericho till your beards have grown, and then come back.” – 2 Samuel 10:5
There has already been some fairly extensive discussion about this on my Facebook page. And by discussion I mean comment. And by comment I mean opinion. And by opinion I mean polling. And by polling I mean my approval rating.
It turns out my numbers are good – if you give any credence to the polls. But this poll wasn’t in response to a survey, it was completely unsolicited. That’s right, my face has been “trending” and I didn’t actually ask! Welcome to social media; welcome to 2020.
Seriously, other than my children and one other voice, the beard has been generating positive reviews. And, no, my parents don’t seem to have noticed anything yet!
No “Big Reveal”!
My plan had been to keep quiet about the situation until there was (or wasn’t) something worth talking about. But this is the first time in my entire life I have ever gone more than 48-hours without shaving and – in an unintentionally self-absorbed selfie-fest – I became fascinated with what was happening. So I updated my profile picture and changed out my signature/mug pretty much every few days.
Two factors had, historically, kept me from attempting a beard. 1) I didn’t believe it was possible, as I have fair hair (well, it’s gray now) and almost no stubble at the end of the day. 2) Rebekah was always a strong “no!”
So Why Now?
Image: two years ago – then 2020
Every year our church offers Walk Through Bethlehem (click here for 50 WTB photographs) at the beginning of December. WTB is a remarkable production that involves the combined efforts of over 200 people. It’s our “Christmas card to the community,” and our invitation to begin the season with the real Christmas story front and center.
In recent years attendance has grown to more than 4,000 visitors over three days. I play the part of tribe leader and guide. There are usually nine of us, four men and five women, with each guide interpreting the journey through the lens of their unique style and personality, leading successive groups of 30 visitors through the “walk.”
And so for this year, understanding the risks of saturating our campus with 1,500 visitors every evening, plus cast, the decision has been made to make a WTB movie and premier the production during Advent.
2020 had already forced us to invest in the right technology; our shoot for the stars AV guru Jim is already thinking “short feature Oscar”; the storyboard is written out and annotated; roles have been assigned; costuming is under way; the “shoot” schedule is on the calendar; and – as the only guide in the movie – the casting director told me, “Beards are not optional this year, they are required.”
Rebekah said, “Go for it.” I stopped shaving around the end of September, and then we waited. I have been pleasantly surprised that something actually happened!
And now – this is the big surprise – Rebekah has even been heard to say, “You know, I think I like it.”
Personally, I plan to keep the fuzz through Thanksgiving and then decide. At least it offers a more positive spin to the idea of “Decision 2020.”
Peace – DEREK
Derek has published seven books in the past decade (you can find them at https://www.amazon.com/Derek-Maul/e/B001JS9WC4), and there’s always something new in the works.
Before becoming a full-time writer, Derek taught public school in Florida for eighteen years, including cutting-edge work with autistic children. He holds bachelor’s degrees in psychology and education from Stetson University and the University of West Florida.
Derek is active in teaching at his church: adult Sunday school, and a men’s Bible study/spiritual formation group. He enjoys the outdoors, traveling, photography, reading, cooking, playing guitar, and golf.