Monday, December 13, 2010

"Would you like to hold the baby?" is...

a retelling of the Nativity story through a Unitarian Universalist lens and it never fails to delight me, moving me to tears on occasion as I sing the words to the songs: "there is room in the stable for everyone", "if we saw the things the shepherds saw, would we have eyes to see?", "offer your gifts, whatever they are, be not afraid, follow the star", and "would you like to hold the baby? ...this gift that I've been given is yours as much as mine".

The author and composer of this Christmas pageant, Joyce Poley, has done a masterful job of giving harried DREs and choir leaders plenty of help in staging and all things pageant-y. I praise her name in behalf of all of us who helped put the pageant together yesterday.

But it feels sad to me that there is still so much leftover pain in some folks' hearts that they can't hear the new message drawn out of this ancient story, a message that has nothing to do with the supernatural and everything to do with timeless values of inclusion, courage, insight, and caring for others.

I pray at this season for peace of heart and mind for those who cannot yet see or hear a new message of hope because of their own pain. And I am grateful to know when this pain rears its head in the hearts and minds of folks I know and love; it's a common pain that many UUs suffer at this time of year. But it is possible, with time and reflection, to heal the wounds and move beyond the pain into a time of joy and delight, the product of reframing the ancient myth into its true metaphors of love and acceptance.

For our children need to know these stories; they are part of our culture and far more positive than the commercial messages of the marketplace at Christmastide. In addition, they need to have their own understanding of the stories to ground them in our values, especially when their playmates from fundamentalist congregations of many kinds tell them they're going to hell because they don't believe the same things their playmates do. They need the courage and commitment exemplified in the ancient stories and they need to know that this courage and commitment does not come from supernatural sources, but from their own hearts and minds.

1 comment:

LinguistFriend said...

Yesterday I almost skipped a service because I expected that a UU nativity service would involve bad humor and succumb to the risks inherent in having such a service at a congregation in which the pains of previous religious affiliation are still prominent and destructive. No, the DRE and her colleagues, explicitly aware of the inherent risks, managed it all in such a way as to navigate gracefully around the baggage of previous religious experience. The angels were angelic. But she is moving to a well-deserved full-time job as a school psychologist. She will be hard to replace.