The time has come for St. Peter's annual three-week vacation, and Jesus volunteers to fill in for him at the Pearly Gates.
"It's no big deal," St. Peter explains. "Sit at the registration desk, and ask each person a little about his or her life. Then send them on to housekeeping to pick up their wings."
On the third day, Jesus looks up to see a bewildered old man standing in front of him.
"I'm a simple carpenter," says the man. "And once I had a son. He was born in a very special way, and was unlike anyone else in this world. He went through a great transformation even though he had holes in his hands and feet. He was taken from me a long time ago, but his spirit lives on forever. All over the world people tell his story."
By this time, Jesus is standing with his arms outstretched. There are tears in his eyes, and he embraces the old man.
"Father," he cries out, "It's been so long!"
The old man squints, stares for a moment, and says,
Received from LARRY SOURBEER.
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