MONTOURSVILLE, PA–The arrival of devout Christian cousin Barb Krueger has "for all practical purposes ruined" the Langan family's chances of having an enjoyable holiday season, sources reported Monday.
"Christmas Day is something our whole family greatly looks forward to, drinking egg nog, opening presents, sitting around the family room in our pajamas and robes, and sipping hot cocoa throughout the day," said Marv Langan, 51. "Well, you can forget about that this year, with Barb hovering over us with her Bible."
The Langans have for years treasured Christmas as a time for family bonding and good cheer. But all that is likely to change this year due to the presence of Krueger, 30, who describes herself as having "a deeply committed personal relationship with my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ."
"Jesus is the reason for the season," Krueger said.
The trouble began for the Langans in early December, when the family was contacted by Krueger, who explained that she was in the Montoursville area for a six-week Bible-study program and looking for a place to spend the holidays. The Langans, who readily welcomed the visiting cousin into their home, were unaware that she had spent a majority of her adult life attending various "personal enrichment programs," converting to a conservative synod of the Lutheran church and gradually alienating all non-Christian members of her social circle.
"The first thing she did when she got here was explain that our Christmas tree was a pagan tradition Jesus never would have approved of," said mother Janet Langan, 49. "Not long after, she nearly fainted when she discovered we didn't have an Advent calendar in the house, so Marv had to run out and buy one."
With Krueger's arrival came other changes, as well. The Langans, who belong to Montoursville's Holy Christ Almighty Church but attend services just a few times a year, soon found themselves roped into twice-weekly visits.
"Last Thursday night, I'd just baked a pie, and the whole gang was getting ready to go sledding together," Janet said. "Next thing you know, Barb is asking about Advent services. I'd forgotten that there was such a thing. Well, there was no sledding that night, let me tell you."
Other holiday-cheer-killing activities foisted upon the family include daily "devotionals" involving candle-lighting and scripture readings, formal prayers before all meals, and longwinded harangues explaining why Jesus wants the Langans to reject such "blasphemously secular" holiday TV specials as Frosty The Snowman and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.
"Caroling is usually my favorite thing," 8-year-old Justin Langan said. "But Cousin Barb says we shouldn't sing Santa songs. All she likes is stupid, hard-to-sing, religious stuff about Good King Wenceslaus and Feast of Stephen–crap like that."
According to daughter Brianna Langan, 17, the family's annual trip to see Santa Claus at the local mall was "a complete wash-out" because of Krueger.
"It totally sucked this year," Brianna said. "The whole time, everybody just stood there all quiet, glancing back at Cousin Barb, worried about what she would think." Brianna added that while waiting in line to see Santa, her visiting cousin told her she shouldn't be wearing makeup at her age.
"I didn't talk to one boy the whole time we were at the mall," said Michelle Langan, Brianna's 15-year-old sister. "Every time I saw somebody I knew from school, Cousin Barb just glared at them and scared them off. She says Jesus teaches us to love the sinner and condemn the sin, but I hate her."
"I hope she never comes back here again," Michelle continued. "I hope she gets run over by a bus and goes to Heaven. That way, she could spend the holidays with her best friend Jesus."