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Christmas and Perspective

December 30, 2009

Tami pointed out a couple weeks ago that Christmas at Church in the Word this year was all about perspective.

The kids’ musical this year was from the perspective of the angels in heaven waiting to announce Jesus’s birth, and our Christmas Americana production on Christmas Eve hit on a couple different POVs.

The kids’ play was cute, but still made you wonder what that was like. How much did  the angels know ahead of time? What did they think when God finally became flesh and they were sent to announce the good news – for the first time – to a scattered bunch of shepherds? Did they know what was coming? How long did they wait? Were they excited, or just amazed?

My first piece of Christmas Americana was supposed to be a spoken word piece that set up the tension of a people hundreds of years into waiting for a much-needed deliverer. The parallels between then are now are obvious, but trying to dig inspiration out of historical text, period movies, and scripture was interesting. It had been 400 years since Malachi. Mary’s great-great-great-grandparents were the last generation to hear from God. The Romans were oppressing and enslaving the Jewish people, and the Pharisees were abusing the poor even more. How long can a people hold on to a promise?

The highlight of Christmas Americana was the Shepherds Union skit, in which five shepherds had to testify in a union meeting as to why they left their flocks. Again – funny, but yet another perspective. “Do not fear?” Really? How many are “all the host of heaven?” Was it bright? Did their eyes have to readjust to the night sky afterwards? How far did they walk? What did they really expect to find? What did they think they were going to do when they got there? What did they do a week later? Tending sheep as usual?

I got slated, as well, to sit in a rocking chair and be the mom telling her child – yet again – about the night he was born. This is the one that really got me.

I’ve never given birth, least of all in the kind of situation Mary was in. But I had to tell the story, so what was her situation? A teenager, married to an older man she’d only gotten to know during their little road trip. Previously scorned, but now a stranger. Which did she prefer? Never had a child before, no child birthing classes, probably under-nourished, walking a lot, and with no place to stay. People have lost their faith over far less.

What was it like to travel for months during her third trimester? What was it like leaving with a man you hardly know, and yet is the only one who believes your crazy story? What was it like traveling through an oppressed shadow of the holy city, knowing that the child she carried was the Savior they’re all waiting for – or wanting to be? What was it like when her water broke as they arrived in Bethlehem? Did she have any idea what to do? What did it do to her – emotionally – when she was carried into a barn? How badly did she want her mother to be there, holding her hand? Did she ever see her mother again? Did she ever wonder, “What if it’s a girl?”

I know the story, but this year I’ve been made to see that I know nothing about it. They mystery of the incarnation could keep the mind occupied for centuries, and I didn’t even get that far.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. December 30, 2009 9:29 am

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this idea, Lex. It’s the post I planned to write and never
    did. Great thoughts and questions.

  2. sarawheatley permalink
    December 30, 2009 5:18 pm

    I too have had thoughts I’d like to write on the perspectives I’d gained while in mid-performance. It wasn’t until we were in the middle of presenting that I reflected on aspects of the story that I never had before. And Lex,… I hadn’t told you yet, but….you made me cry. You shared with such realism & passion and from a perspective (there is that word again.) that I’d never considered.

    His Word. HIStory. Always fresh. Always something to new to come away with.

  3. Tammy permalink
    December 30, 2009 5:27 pm

    (previous comment was by Tammy Wheatley – Sara was still logged into wordpress *sigh*)

    • Lex permalink
      December 30, 2009 10:38 pm

      Tami – Thanks. :) Stole it, I know. But the Mary thing made me.

      Tammy – Thanks too. Looking forward to your amazing post on the perspectives of Christmas!

  4. January 2, 2010 1:12 am

    Thanks for the great posting – and happy new year to you all :)

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