“The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified. The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you — wonderful, joyous news for all people. Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord’ . . . Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God.” Luke 2:10-13 (CEB)
This Sunday our Sunday school children will present the annual Christmas Pageant. In all the years, I have been a pastor, I have never seen a “perfect” pageant. Something always goes awry: the shepherds trip over their robes, one of the Wise Persons (we often have both genders for the Magi) doesn’t show up, several angels have trouble keeping their halos upright or even on their heads, and the young girl who stands in as Mary doesn’t always know how to switch from being pregnant to having the baby. Sometimes the boy who plays Joseph is very resistant, but he does it anyway with a frown.
Does this matter – no. We love it all. Why? Because our children remind us over and over again of God’s gift of a Savior in Jesus, the Christ. They reenact the nativity story over and over again, and some of the girls can’t wait to play Mary. No, they aren’t perfect, but then that is a reminder that none of us is perfect. We live in an imperfect world and do imperfect things. Isn’t that the whole point of a Savior, anyway?
Jesus came to live our lives, teach us about living in God’s ways, give us a new perspective on what God’s love is all about, and set an example for us. He died our death, even though he was innocent. And he was raised from the dead so that we might have forgiveness of sins and life eternal. The hope of Christmas is that God’s gift is for everyone and is for life. In spite of crooked halos, many of us become angels to someone else who needs a friend or support or a little extra TLC.
We live our faith in the world to the best of our ability, confident that God will work through us in spite of ourselves. May this Christmas be one when we remember the point of God’s gift of life in Christ. May our Christmas be more joyful because of this great gift. Merry Christmas!