I would imagine the trend rose with the popularity of Duck Dynasty and has been fueled by challenges like “No Shave November,” but beards have really made a comeback. I will admit, I have even given a try at growing one myself. Let me just say, “Not everyone can grow a good beard.”
I was reflecting on how common it is to see a man with a beard today compared to when I was a boy. They were much less common then. I do remember one man from my church that would start growing a beard about this time every year and letting his hair grow long. He was preparing for his role in the annual Easter play as Jesus.
The church seemed to monitor the growth of his beard with the same expectancy and attention someone might give to a pregnant mother. Folks would say things like, “It’s coming along, looking good, “ or “bet you can’t wait for the big day.” Others could be heard sharing the compliment, “The beard looks great. You’ll make a great Jesus.”
I knew the man well enough to know that he emulated more characteristics of Jesus Christ than just long hair and a beard.
The fact is that we are all challenged to look like Jesus, whether we have facial hair or not – or any hair at all for that matter. We see it in the fifth chapter of the letter to the Ephesians. “Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. 2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. “ Ephesians 5:1-2
I watched a well-known impersonator on the Tonight Show one time who was asked by Johnny Carson, “How do you do such a great job imitating these people?” His answer was that three things are necessary in order to do a great impersonation.
He said that the first is to take away everything that is myself. Second, I learn everything that I can about the person I want to impersonate. He then said, that those two are very important, however, if I can do the third one, I have it nailed. Third is to spend time with the person.
I think he revealed to us how we might imitate Christ. It’s more than a beard.
Joel Gay is Pastor of Wilmington Church of the Nazarene.