I remember very clearly the Christmas pageants when I was growing up in Stewartsville, Missouri at Community of Christ. Though I hated drawing any attention to myself it was kind of fun dressing up as someone else. We would run through the Christmas story, sing songs, and the most important part grab a bag of candy after the production for our hard work and devotion.
My mother told me after I was born, I played little baby Jesus as she and my dad played Mary and Joseph. Unfortunately for Christmas Pageant roles, there is nowhere to go but down after playing Jesus. That very next year I was a some type of livestock like a sheep or cow. Either way it was an animal roaming about while the rest of the parts were played.
I eventually became an angel and a shepherd where I remained to what seemed liked forever. The wise men seemed to have the premium role, which I aspired to be, but they were always reserved for the older kids. However, my day finally arrived many years down the road where I could show my wisdom to all those that arrived to church that Sunday. As I grew older I also played Joseph and was able to watch others interact in the story giving their own unique perspective to each part. I learned that each role had its important part in the birth of the King.
The last few years I have been able to watch my sons participate in the Christmas Pageant. It’s unlike my childhood as there were no prescribed parts but a variety of inclusive roles no matter what age. I do remember my oldest being a sheep a few years back and eating cheerios off the ground during the play. This year I played Joseph again as my 4 month old made his opening debut as baby Jesus.
The memories I have from the Christmas Pageant are precious because it made me part of the Christmas story. The story is what is truly amazing when we take the time to stop and read it. You see we each can be active participants if we just choose a role to play. This role may not be the traditional ones we all know but one that fits our own discipleship and journey. It is to this we are all called. May the Christmas story remind us all of the blessings that abound when we receive the Christ into our heart this season.
Reading The Story With New Eyes
Sometimes hearing something over and over again dulls our senses, reducing the meaning and impact it can have on us. The Christmas story along with other gospel stories can fall into this category. It's unfortunate because the magic of the story continues to reside in it if we but open our ears and hear it.
Blogger Shauna Letellier wrote a blog post titled, "How to Read the Christmas Story as if for the First Time." She gives 5 tips to assist us in reading the story so we can continue to be impacted by it. I find these tips very helpful so we can rediscover new meanings in the story.
I encourage you to read the story yourself this year. If you do not know where to find all the story, the blog by Oretha Winston titled, "Bible Verses That Tell The Story of Christmas" identifies all the scriptures of the Christmas story and provides the words for you to read. Check it out and read through it to rediscover additional meanings from it.
Wherever you find yourself this Christmas season, take the time to reunite yourself with the story. Ask the questions you haven't asked and see with new eyes the miracle that resides in it. Find what your role will be in this day and time that brings you to the light of the world.
I hope everyone is able to participate or watch a Christmas Pageant this year. Thank you to all those who have or are directing them.
This week I encourage you to read the Christmas story out of the Bible.
Craig Hidy like the majority of ministers in Community of Christ is a bi-vocational, self sustaining ordained minister. He is a member of the Midlands Mission Center Emporia Team and an ordained Seventy. He and his family, live in Topeka, Kansas.
The mission of the Seventy
“After this the Lord appointed seventy others and sent them on ahead of him in pairs to every town and place where he himself intended to go. He said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go on your way. See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves.” Luke 10:1-3 NRSV
What is a Seventy?
The Seventy carry out missionary work for the church in close association with other missionary leaders. They represent Christ primarily as ministers of evangelism through witnessing, inviting, and church planting.
They especially proclaim and promote Jesus Christ’s invitation to faithful discipleship through vibrant witness, and train individuals and congregations in witness and invitation.
They particularly minister with seekers, individually and in groups, to share the gospel in relevant ways and to invite response.
The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Community of Christ. We believe individuals should be allowed to have their own opinions and be at different places in their faith journey.
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