Merry Christmas! I hope you all have been enjoying some much needed R&R with your friends and family. I have been traveling around a bit, but very much looking forward to joining Bruce in MA tomorrow. He said it’s quiet without me in the house – I take that as a compliment?
Here are my thoughts from the early service on Christmas Eve – the pageant. I wrote a new pageant this year – it was narrated by Jesus, telling the story about the day he was born. It was INCREDIBLE! The pageant part went off without a hitch (other than a runaway sheep and missing shepherd) and we closed the service by singing Joy To The World with glow sticks.
I used to be opposed to pageants, but I have to be honest – they’re growing on me! It was just so cool to intentionally create a laid back atmosphere where the kids really could engage and understand the story.
I promise to share the pageant in case anyone is interested for next year! Here is my pre-pageant reflection …
Rehoboth Congregational Church
December 24, 2013
Christmas Eve Family Worship & Pageant Homily
When Peg asked me if I would be willing to write a new Christmas pageant this year, I was a little nervous at first. I wanted desperately to write something that would be simple and accessible to all ages. But I was also afraid that I would end up completely oversimplifying the whole story and that my colleagues in ministry – ones who are much more brilliantly versed in the bible than I am – would one day read it tell me that I had totally and completely theologically missed the mark in my interpretation.
But then I thought – who cares? Am I in ministry to show off what I learned in seminary or am in ministry to help people – all people, young, old and in between – understand the bible? After all, what good are the things that I learned if the people I am in ministry with don’t understand them?
The bible should be accessible. Church should be accessible. Faith should be accessible. Christmas should be accessible. And on Sunday morning during the children’s sermon, when I asked the kids to tell me the Christmas story, the adults in the congregation and I received the greatest gift we could have been given this season as we heard our church children recollect what happened when Jesus was born.
With childlike wonder, they told us this magical story. They told us about Mary and Joseph, the shepherds and the sheep and the Wise Man. We lit the star when they told us that everyone followed a star to the manger in Bethlehem.
It was so simple, yet so perfect. And it encapsulated so much; more than anyone else – even the smartest students I graduated with – ever could have.
Because in the end, the Christmas story – and the Christian faith as a whole – should not be complicated. It should not be some great untouchable mystery. It should be something that we all understand. It should be something that we all hold in our hearts. It should be something that we can all talk about in our own words.
Tonight, no matter who you are or where you are on your journey through life, I invite you to step into this story and experience it on the most basic level. A baby will be born in Bethlehem and the world will be changed. People will hear the news and follow a star to see that baby – not even knowing yet the great peace that he will one day bring.
And we, too, will be changed. We will be changed by this story. We will be changed when we see it played out tonight in a different way and we will be changed when we leave this place and go celebrate with our families.
Friends, I invite you this Christmas season to celebrate the powerful simplicity of what God did on that first Christmas. And then go out and tell the world in your own words how this story changed your life. Blessed be on this Christmas Eve!
Thanks be to God!