Quiet pace of the First Christmas

Right about now, things start to get crazy. With only two and a half weeks until Christmas, the lines lengthen in the stores, the parking lots fill up at the mall, and something takes over our souls that runs at cross purposes with the meaning of the birth of Jesus. It is very hard to find your rudder. It is hard to re-discover the moments of wonder at the heart of the story. It is hard to savor the seasonal stories of faith.  These days at the church we are working on the Christmas Pageant. We have a nice group of children from the 9 a.m. service and another crew from the After School Program who say they would like to participate. So Deb Larsson and I have put together a schedule for rehearsals, and we’ve worked on a script. She will be assigning some of the parts and organizing the costumes for the shepherds and angels. The kids are getting excited.  This week, with Deb’s help, I tried to teach a group to sing “Jesus our Brother, Kind and Good”.  They are quick learners, and eager to participate.  But after a while they were getting so excited that I thought it was time to read them a story to change the energy in the room a little. I had chosen one of my favorites,  Santa’s Favorite Story: Santa Tells the Christmas Story.   It is a great book about animals who are worried that Santa is not ready for the holiday. When they come to him Santa sits the nervous animals down to tell them that this holiday was never about him, or about a frenzied shopping spree. It was always about a baby born in a stable. It was always about God’s gift to us, not our gifts for one another. It was always about wonder, and simplicity.  There is nothing wrong with the way we celebrate, unless the holidays start to take us for a ride. Then we need to sit down like those little animals and remind ourselves again that this is not about a man in a red suit, but about a child in swaddling clothes. At the end of the book, somehow everyone is soothed by the quiet pace of the first Christmas, and even Santa has grounded himself in fresh purpose.  I hope that you take a moment or two to remember why we do what we do in December. It may re-set your expectations. It may help you find some balance. It may enable you to be the calm one in your family. What a gift that could be! 

Advent blessings,  Rev. Susan  I hope you will come to see our Christmas Pageant at 11 a.m. on December 22.

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