Twas the Night before Christmas & Theater

So, I have 5 amazing children who are doing a performance of Twas the Night Before Christmas.

TwasJoy, Joy, Joy!

This is where the spirit of the season is…let me tell you

1. The kids have come to practically every rehearsal (I tried to keep them reasonable). I am amazed at their commitment

2. The kids have synergy! We have played all sorts of games and learned all kinds of theater skills, and they are definitely in tune with each other

3. Each child is unique! Coming from 4 different families, representing broad socio-economic and cultural perspectives it is a joy to see how representative of the community these kids are…(we have a half Hispanic-Half African-American Child, an adopted Asian Child and Three Caucasian children all from different types of homes)

4. They (almost) know their lines, and we are 3 weeks from the actual performance

5. They LOVE rehearsing “Can we do it again?” “Can we sing more?” “What else are we going to add?” are just some of their questions. They seem to ALWAYS have fun.

6. They are helping with everything! Devoting time to drawing pictures, creating bios and planning the party, each kid is committed to help out.

Last time I did a Charlie Brown Christmas–the adults performed it to 150 people, with squirmy children, a group home and many community members in attendance. It was a huge success, we collected a cartload (well really a pickup truck load) of nonperishable food (the price of admission)…That we have now asked the boys scouts to help us out, in case this year is as good (or better) a success….

But I have to say…this play is already a success, no matter how many people come, no matter how many shelter goods we collect, the kids are coming together and doing Christmas…Being Christmassed together

In the midst of worry about the future (protests re: Ferguson & NYC come to mind), these children Incarnate the HOPE, PEACE, JOY and LOVE of the season! They are my human Advent Wreath, bringing their warmth and light of the season home. Its amazing how a Christmas Play can bring Jesus home.

How Can This Be?

Mary magnifies the Lord, magnifies the question of Jesus Christ. Takes a life change and magnifies it.

I don’t know about you, but when big things happen in my life–good or bad–I try to manage the event, plan it, cope. Immediately I try to make it smaller.

But if God is with us. If God is not just a lightening bolt miracle, but someone who walks with us in the mundaneness of daily life: understanding the miracle it is sometimes to get through the day, taking Christmas–like pageants–as messy, ordinary and blessed…..then we are able to speak holiness into the blessings, to speak holiness into the tragedies. Then we are confident enough to magnify the questions in our lives. Accepting these moments as holy ones.

Able to sit with those moments when someone you know is suffering, when there is nothing good to say. I think particularly this year of a woman I know who miscarried her baby. This is a moment of “How can this be?”. It sucks until it doesn’t anymore, but the most helpful thing you can do is to sit with the question–no platitudes, no answers, just sitting with the hardness of the question in love. Similar the question can happen in unexpected pregnancies “How Can This Be?” Personally, I don’t care how a new life is started, every time someone gets pregnant its a miracle–one for which we still can’t scientifically pinpoint. And these pregnancies are another moment of holy questioning. “How can this be?”

Just as Mary’s pregnancy was probably more like the unexpected ones, than another kind.And Mary doesn’t try to make it go away, she asks the question “How Can this Be?” and lives with the question growing inside her—bearing and delivering a a question to which she has no answers. In a time where they thought pregnancies could take anywhere from six months to a year, in a place where she couldn’t know whether she would be having the baby alone or not, and eventually–at a time when travel must be had in the final stages of pregnancy–on a Donkey No Less! This a a holy moment of question.   She lives into the holiness of “How Can This Be?”

During Christmas, a lot of questions arise, and family has to be dealt with, expectations have to be met, or passed over, a time we miss whoever is not there more keenly, a time when we are thankful that, it came together.

We had Christmas, again.

and we are able to wonder, speaking holy into the situation

How Can This Be?

And yet, it happens, every year Christmas comes again

Being Christmassed! Xmas Links that get me in that holiday spirit!

Usually I’m Christmassed way before Thanksgiving. The love and joy and hope of Christmas descends upon me (usually unexpectedly)

However this year there were technical difficulties regarding a Santa Hat (how can I wear this if my children keep stealing it) Christmas Music (I still don’t know where my CDs are) A Church Production of Charlie Brown (Cancelled: sad day) and family (no one is able to visit us this year)…plus it just felt a little too fast.

This week I transitioned, somehow in reading Mary’s Joy–it became mine,

Luke 1 46And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, 47and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 48for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; 49for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. 50His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. 51He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. 52He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; 53he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty. 54He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, 55according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.” 56And Mary remained with her about three months and then returned to her home.

And THEN (magically) I found things on the internet that made me feel like Christmas

Things like an amazing version of Angels We Have Heard on High (4 guys, 1 piano)

Things like this retelling of Jesus “Brilliant, no one will be expecting that!”

Then there’s this little girl sharing the Christmas Spirit with her parents, through singing/signing ;P

And an old favorite hallelujah! which is how being suddenly Christmassed feels to me!

Many pastors believe in delayed gratification, that singing Christmas hymns during advent is akin to a sin.

I don’t. I do think in giving Thanksgiving its due, and try to wait until them to do Christmassy things (altho what happens in the privacy of your own car is your business)

But, I love Christmas, there is something truly infectious about it…even as it is commercialized, the feeling itself is magical.

and important

and a good

and I’ll try not to be TOO annoyingly happy about it


I think I’m going to go watch Charlie Brown Christmas now!