Sunday, December 15, 2013

Isaiah 35:1–10; Luke 1:46b–55; Matthew 11:2–11

The lectionary texts tell us that Advent is a time to look forward to Christ’s second coming rather than back to his first. Yet most churches prefer Christmas pageants to second coming pageants. Given all the doom and gloom that accompanies apocalypse, they may be concerned about scaring the kids.

But Christmas pageants can be scary too. In my childhood church, the star of the show was played by a doll. Bothered by the Word-made-plastic, we decided to install a live baby Jesus, played by Mary’s three-month-old baby brother, Trevor. That year, as if on cue, the choir sang, “No crying he makes,” and baby Jesus, with the sharp hay stabbing holes in his backside, let loose a bloodcurdling scream. Mary, who’d heard Trevor’s wailing at home, wheeled around and shouted at him to shut up. This didn’t go over well; you’re not supposed to yell at Jesus.


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