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.

When your heart is breaking….

Yesterday my heart broke….It was a difficult day with sad decisions and a good look at how temptation effects our lives….

Isn’t it interesting how it is easier to believe and remember evil than good? (for more on Good and Evil look here)

If you preach a sermon 90% about gospel and 10% about sin, most people remember the sin portion.

Why is evil so much easier to connect with? I think some of this has to do with our insecurity. Ted talk The Power of Vulnerability tackles this issue with storyteller/researcher Brene Brown.

In fact a lot of people I know don’t believe in Hell (Christians obviously included)…

So why then are the “less happy” endings more believable??? Why is it that “truth is hard” is the “real world” mantra

I don’t think life is shit and we struggle through it the best we can. I don’t think life is brutish, nasty, short. I think there is MORE than that.

But when my heart breaks, when difficult decisions are made, when people don’t show love and care towards one another, when people-hate-the-sin-not-the-sinner, when they fall back on smile-Jesus-Loves-you, when they use religion (as the TED video says) to provide answers instead of exploring faith), when people struggle with addiction, when parents don’t take good care of their children….

When these things happen, when its clear that the world is not perfect because of our self doubt, it is important to remember Jesus made us and loves us exactly the way we are…

Jesus believes that we are equipped, as those made in God’s image and as co-creators, to spread the good news…

https://i0.wp.com/radiofreebabylon.com/RFB%20Images/CoffeeWithJesus/coffeewithjesus500.jpg

How do we know this? Because Jesus spent time as one of us. Jesus went to the desert and endured the Devil telling Jesus …you are not good enough, you are not a success, you can’t help in God’s work, you need (food, drink, success, fame) Me, the devil, to get there…Matthew 4:8-10 (Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”). And Jesus says, no, the way is through love and God, its through knowing myself as an intricate, important and beloved part of God’s plan and I don’t need to be perfect/in control/married/successful/rich to do that…I just need to be grounded and centered on God (Matthew 4:10Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.) Take that evil. Yes, evil exists, yes life is difficult, no I don’t think we have to accept the chains of temptation, we don’t have value our “Success” the way the world does. Instead we can depend on God (we don’t need to dull the pain or even control it), we can know Christ has been there, understands that we stumble and loves that about us, because we are stumbling on his path, we are doing the best we can, and we are created in his image. We participate in Lent, so that we can participate more fully in Easter–we participate in Lent, because its a part of life, but we also participate in it so we can acknowledge that EASTER wins!!! All the time, everytime (even during Lent, Easter creeps through on Sundays!!!) Easter like Christmas, needs to be lived (see my post on Being Christmassed for more)

comic

Please note: I discuss heartbreak and difficulty as a tangible part of life (for more look at Anne Lamott’s thoughts here)

BUT: The Good news has written the ending for us, and we can Participate in God’s Celebration…we don’t have to just watch or hum along to God’s Concert–we can party and scream all the words<<——–THIS IS THE MESSAGE, try to remember this, don’t walk away already forgetting the good news

Good News: Jesus is the Savior

Better News; So you don’t have to be (subtext you get to help!!)

So the hard decisions were made, I am continuing to pray, to live into hope, to put into practice God’s love and care and to trust that my participation although it feels small is important and that the love I show has had meaning…and really knowing that heals my heart even as its broken (just as God heals are brokenness in a broken world)…I wonder if this is how Christ feels when he makes loving and difficult decisions on our behalf…Good news JESUS is the savior….Jesus loves ALL of us, no matter what. Amen.

Lady Jabberwocky

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