Monday, December 15, 2008

Advent - Day 17

Pageants – Matthew 1:18-25
Tuesday, December 16

When our children were younger they participated in the usual choir and pageant programs at church. They looked so angelic in their slightly tilted halos, their choir robes and their shepherd look alike costumes. Sound familiar? During their teenage years, the pantomimed pageant gave way to the Living Christmas Drama, two shows a night for three nights running. We will never forget the polo pony that got away and had to be chased down the street or the gallons of hot chocolate served between shows. We will never forget the story acted out time and time again.

We remember the story, but do we also remember time and time again the miracle that took place that first Christmas night? The story itself is the fulfillment of God’s promise and the actions of Mary and Joseph exhibited their deep trust in and commitment to God.

Questions to consider: What does the fulfillment of God’s promise mean to you? Is there someone with whom you need to share God’s promise? Do you share Mary and Joseph’s trust in and commitment to God?

In the mid-fifties the church where Tom grew up began a live nativity scene, with real people, real animals, but they didn't move or have a script as the drama Tommy produced or the one he and Marty participated in as teenagers. Tom's parents were actively involved in the scene and arranged to get animals from the Jackson Zoo. After the first night they noticed that the donkey didn't seem exactly up to par, so they took him upstairs to the Fellowship Hall where Mom and Dad and the DCE (the lady who arranged our first date) nursed him into the night until he died. They were reluctant to call the zoo keeper, also a member of the the church, but he made them feel a bit better when they were told that the donkey was already sick.

Fast forward thirty or so years and find Tommy involved with the animals at the Living Nativity at Covenant Presbyterian, our church in Jackson, MS. A familiy in the church had polo ponies and they offered one as the centurion's horse for the performance. The horse got away and had to be chased down a busy street before he was caught. We never talk about the years of the performances that we don't ask, "Do you remember when the polo pony escaped?"

Well, the performance at 1st Presbyterian, Jackson, TN was delayed almost an hour the first night this year because the animals were involved in a wreck in route to the church. Someone hit the trailer carrying the animals. Fortunately, none were hurt and they arrived in good shape to add to the performance.

In years to come, our family will be remembering our history with nativity scenes at the churches where we have worshiped and we will laugh at the memories of the animals. Quietly we might reflect on the places of sheep and donkeys. They were lowly animals then; they are lowly now. Yet, God used them in the greatest of all Bible stories, the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ. God can, and does, take the most insignificant creatures and use them for His glory. For that, I am most grateful!

Pastor Margaret


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