Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "It Came Upon The Midnight Clear"1 (Lyrics)
I have been reflecting on the role of nativity plays, pageants, and tableaux in the formation of our spirituality. Here are my thoughts.
In December 2017, as I watched the children and young adults play their various roles in the tableaux written by one of our church members, I felt a strong connection with the narrative. I knew many of the "actors" and their families — the braying and baa-ing little children who were donkeys and sheep, the three tall young men who were the magi, the teenager who was Mary, accompanied by a teenaged Joseph. Then there were the narrators, who occasionally stumbled over less-familiar words but who were obviously pouring their hearts and souls into the fulfillment of their responsibility. At least three continents and seven or eight countries were represented among the participants.
It was not important whether the children got the details of the biblical narrative "right". Into the realm of trivia faded the problem I have, as a science-informed, 21st-century Christian, with whether the events actually occurred the way they were being presented.
My imagination was freed up to experience the reality that Jesus was very near for the enactors of the story. In a very real way, Jesus had come alongside each person present in the sanctuary — including me.
And that is trustworthy. That is real. That we can depend on. That we can live out in our daily lives as well as during pageants and plays at Christmas.
John 1:1,14 – In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (NIV)
Prayer: Loving God, You have come near to us in order that we might come near to You. We pray that that may be our experience in sanctuary and Sunday church school and in the world where we live out our lives on a daily basis. Amen.