Augustus Gloopitis

My daughter is currently learning about the Roman Empire in school. Thereby, her weekly spelling words surround this topic. Last week, one of her spelling words was Augustus, the emperor of Rome when Jesus was born. I quiz her daily on her spelling words. As I state the words—instead of using the word in a sentence—I attempt to use the word in a song. I had trouble with Augustus, so as an alternative to singing, I quoted Luke 2:1 in the King James Version: “And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.” My daughter immediate realized that I didn’t contribute to her quiz by singing the word in the lyrics of a song and began to sing the first line of “Augustus Gloop!” From Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!

I knew the next line…so I continued:

The great big greedy nincompoop!

She was impressed…especially with the word “nincompoop!”

Here’s the complete song from the movie:

Augustus Gloop! Augustus Gloop!
The great big greedy nincompoop!
Augustus Gloop!
So big and vile
So greedy, foul, and infantile
‘Come on!’ we cried, ‘The time is ripe
To send him shooting up the pipe!
But don’t, dear children, be alarmed;
Augustus Gloop will not be harmed,
Augustus Gloop will not be harmed
Although, of course, we must admit
He will be altered quite a bit.
Slowly, the wheels go round and round,
The cogs begin to grind and pound;
We boil him for a minute more,
Until we’re absolutely sure
Then out he comes! And now! By grace!
A miracle has taken place!
A miracle has taken place!
This greedy brute, this louse’s ear,
Is loved by people everywhere!
For who could hate or bear a grudge
Against a luscious bit of fudge?”

My daughter’s quick modification from the biblical reference of Caesar Augustus in the prologue to Jesus’ birth to Augustus Gloop caused me to take pause. Is there a connection here? Of course there is! And if there isn’t…I’m going to create one.

Augustus Gloop was a nasty, greedy, gluttonous pig…and his parents facilitated and enabled him. Augustus represents Christmas spirit gone awry. This year’s Black Friday commenced the Christmas season with pepper spray in the Wal-Mart electronics department, burglary in the Wal-Mart parking lot, trampling at shopping malls, and all-out madness. The enabling parents of the Augustus Gloops of the world were trying to save a few pennies. In so doing, they were perpetually contributing to the greed and gluttony of their progenies.

When Augustus Gloop falls into the chocolate river and is whisked toward the fudge room, he’s beginning the process of refinement. Augustus Gloop is transformed from an undesirable, brutish, dog into a loveable, unselfish child. Willy Wonka assures us that Augustus will be just fine.  In fact, by some miracle, Augustus Gloop will be changed…he will be “loved everywhere.”

Jesus’ humble birth—his being wrapped in swaddling clothes and placed in a manger—is  a true representation of the desired Christmas spirit…the spirit that seems to have been lost in the disarray of flat-screen televisions, Apple products, and innovative gaming systems. Jesus’ incarnation is Almighty God in the form of a helpless baby with only straw for a bed. God could’ve come as the Roman emperor, the High Priest, or a general in the Roman infantry. He didn’t. God didn’t perpetuate the concept that riches, possession, power, and success were necessary in order to transform the world. Instead, God did the exact opposite. In Jesus, we see humility, faith, compassion, a giving spirit, and sacrifice as those necessary qualities. Faith in Jesus—his death and resurrection—is transformational. The true spirit of Christmas is to believe in the purpose of this humble baby and become transformed through Him. Jesus’ Spirit will help us combat the symptoms of Augustus Gloopitis, and embrace the love, purity, and transformation of Christmas.


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