Monday, December 17, 2012

Muffled Thoughts

Just a few weeks before Christmas, every year at Campbell UMC we celebrate Advent with the Children's Nativity Parade. So 350-something days ago we scheduled for children to dress up like barn animals, shepherds, Mary, Joseph and wise men to stand in front of the church. Last Christmas, our youth director announced to the staff his son's upcoming birth by claiming a treasured spot as Jesus in the parade. It is a powerful event every year.
This past Sunday's Nativity Parade was no different - cameras flashed, smiles abound and tears fell. I doubt if anyone in the room could avoid thinking about a small community in Connecticut and the children must have sensed our need for hope. The barn animals struggled to keep their ears atop their heads, but had no problem teaching us a few lessons.
The donkeys took their spot on the step as if their parents had threatened them to be camera ready. However when Mary and Joseph made their way down the aisle, the three year old dressed in a brown tunic holding his ears knew he needed to scoot over to make room for couple and their baby. I wish I remembered that in the midst of this crazy season. 
The sixth grader who, I am sure was wrangled into filling the spot as Joseph at the first service somehow knew to bring into his arms the two year old cow heading in the wrong direction. Do I gracefully bring into my arms those who need a slight redirection?
What about the lesson from the four year old angel who could not keep her eyes off baby Jesus even with all the distractions around her?
Then you have the second grader who wanted to be sure you saw his star even though that group was pushed to the back row? 
In some ways it was harder emotionally this year to experience this tradition. However and possibly even more important for me, it was healing to know that the story stills needs to be told and who better to share it than the children that seem to understand it the best. 

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