One of my favorite days of the year. Christmas Pageant Day. Such a preponderance of little angels with crooked halos, toddler shepherds irritated with their costumes. Never a truer sermon was preached than that rag tag bunch of kids testifying with their songs and missed cues. I had several folks ask me why I was crying. Because Christmas Pageant!
And because, every year, this story moves me. Whatever your religious affiliation (or lack thereof) the nativity story is about the transformation and good news that comes from powerlessness. It's turns 2016 America (and every other empire, marketing strategy, and campaign tactic) on its head. It says that domination won't be the order of the day forever, and that we can circle up together in the meantime. It says that God is one of us, and more likely to appear the more desperate we are.
We sang a beautiful tune called "God comes Looking for a Home." Waterworks for me, of course.
God comes looking for a home. There! See his mother, pregnant and dirty, riding through town, asking for a room. I couldn't--I have my own children to tend to. I have a fundraiser to go to, and Facebook petitions to sign. I have Christmas crafts to do and employee evaluations to finish. And I don't even know you! It's unwise to open my door. You might take advantage of me and never leave. I don't know if you're legally allowed to be here or not. You will eat my food, use my water, leave your socks lying around. You could be crazy, criminal, lying, or contagious.
Or you could be the mystery that's been unfolding in me all my life--the one I've been too scared to welcome. The humming on a summer day, the silence that keeps me up at night.
God, find your home here! Don't believe me when I say I don't need deliverance, when I shut the door, go back to my chores, my tit-for-tat calculations, planning my next escape. Despite myself, I say with St. Augustine, "Late have I loved you, beauty so ancient and so new!.../You called, shouted, broke through my deafness/you flared, blazed, banished my blindness/you lavished your fragrance, I gasped; and now I pant for you/I tasted you, and now I hunger and thirst/you touched me, and I burned for your peace." Amen.