December 07, 2010 | The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner
Most churches this time of year have begun their preparations for their annual Christmas pageant. Rehearsal and performance times have been set and staff and volunteers are busy making decisions regarding the many details of how this year’s pageant will look. The story line of each church’s Christmas pageant is of course the same, but beyond that, there are endless possibilities of how to stage a pageant. Some will be very elaborate productions, some will be quite simple. Some will be very serious, while others will be humorous. Some will value spontaneity and surprises, and some will be tightly scripted. Some will be traditional and some will be contemporary.
The vast variety of ways to create a Christmas pageant can be a helpful reminder for each of us as we go about creating our personal and family Christmas celebrations. Remaining flexible and adaptable is the key. Just as there is no “right” way to celebrate a pageant, there is also no “right” way to celebrate Christmas either. What worked well in your life ten years ago, might not work so well this year. We risk missing the true joy and meaning of the season if we try to force our experience to be something we think it “should” be, rather than simply letting it be what it is.
There is a great little message called “Christmas Love” that is popular this time of year. It is a paraphrase of 1 Corinthians 13 and it reminds us of the importance of keeping simplicity and love as the central themes in whatever Christmas celebrations we are creating, whether at church or at home. In hopes of helping us all to keep love at the center of our celebrations, I conclude my column with “Christmas Love.”
If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.
If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at
mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.
If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my friends, it profits me nothing.
If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the spouse.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens. Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way.
Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can't.
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of LOVE will endure.
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