(Note: The characters in this series are fictional, but their experiences are based on true life stories.)
As Muriel watched her son Mark playing King Herod in the Christmas pageant, she remembered her own childhood when she had been part of things like this. She remembered being an angel one year, a shepherd another—she even got to play Mary once.
Christmas was the one time of year when, for a few weeks, her whole family used to go to church. It certainly was nice to see Mark having some of the same good experiences she had as a child.
After the play, there were Christmas goodies and singing. She watched Mark hobbling around on his crutches (he’d had an accident on his bike a few weeks earlier), still wearing his royal outfit, having a grand old time with the other kids.
Bill and Joyce came over. "It looks like your boy is recovering pretty well," Bill observed. "Yeah, those casts are great attention-getters," Muriel responded. "Christmas is all about kids, isn’t it?" Joyce said.
"It sure seems like it," Muriel answered.
Later that evening, after Mark was in bed, Muriel put on some quiet Christmas music, made herself some hot apple cider, and sat thinking about the evening, her childhood, and the time since she had gotten involved at this church.
The familiar songs brought back warm feelings, but somehow they were starting to mean a little more. As a kid, they were all just songs about Christmas. But now as she sang them, the words really meant something. "Now the Holly has a Berry" kept coming back to her, especially the lines "Mary bore Jesus who died on the cross… Mary bore Jesus who rose from the dead…" and the chorus "Mary bore Jesus our saviour for to be…"
She had never really thought about the connection between Christmas and Good Friday and Easter. But now it struck her that these traditions are all about an unfolding cosmic drama of life and death and life after death.
As she sat reflecting, an image came to her, that her little life of going to work, raising a child, looking after the house, and all that stuff is part of a much bigger reality that transcends what she sees and knows. She saw herself, her son and everyone out there as part of a great movement of life and spirit sweeping through time and space. For a moment, she felt part of something transcendent and eternal.
Was this what all these traditions were trying to point to?
Material prepared by Rev. Curtis Aguirre, pastor of Hope Lutheran Church, Nanaimo, B.C. and provided courtesy of Canada Lutheran.