It was one of those priceless Christmas pageant moments. There they were, the children of our parish, all decked out in costume from the ankles up (never mind the historically inaccurate footwear), portraying Mary, Joseph, angels, shepherds and kings. This year, we had several babies in the congregation available for the part of baby Jesus.
It was good that baby Jesus had understudies, because this particular baby Jesus was fussy. Crying-spit-out-noonie-fussy. Finally, after it was clear that baby Jesus wasn’t going to settle down, he was discretely whisked away by his mother. Um, the actor’s mother, that is.
The pageant continued without pause. Another baby Jesus was tucked into Mary’s arms. And wouldn’t you know…this baby Jesus got fussy too. The actors and narrator continued; the kings strode up the aisle of the church as baby Jesus was swapped out – several times. How many baby Jesuses did we have? Three? I lost count, but the entire cast received a rousing round of applause at the end.
At Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ, the Incarnation. God with us, God in us. Multiple baby Jesuses? No problem. What better illustration that Christ is in all of us, no matter how fussy and cranky we may be? Emmanuel, God with us.
We are all members of the Body of Christ and we carry this Divine Spark. So does all of humanity, no matter how buried or ignored the spark may be. Can it ever be truly extinguished?
On this day when we Christians celebrate the birth of Christ, I think of the words of a young Jewish girl who has been one of my heroines for most of my life:
“In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too, I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.” — Anne Frank
May the love of Christ be with you and yours this Christmas day and every day.
A Christmas gift of music for you: Rock My Baby Jesus