December 2, 2010

Emmanuel---- God with us.....and even the Herdmans :)

We have been reading "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. This story gets me laughing so hard when we read about the HORRIBLE things the Herdmans think up!!!!!... ...and "no one is prepared when the Herdmans invade church one Sunday-and decide to take over the annual Christmas pageant"

Here is a funny passage we read from the 4th chapter
 ...... "I don't understand the Herdmans.  You would have thought the Christmas story came right out of the F.B.I. files, they got so involved in it-wanted a bloody end to Herod, worried about Mary having her baby in a barn, and called the Wise Men a bunch of dirty spies.  And they left the first rehearsal arguing about whether Joseph should have set fire to the inn, or just chased the innkeeper into the next county." 

I laughed throughout the entire book...until I came to the end.  Without fail, every single time I cry as I read what happens when the meaning of the story hits home for these 6 little kids.  They may have understood it in their own way....In a completely NON-traditional way.  Not by OUR standards anyway.

To Gladys.... the angel of the Lord shows up with a "SHAZAM!!!!!!!!"
To the boys.... (the Wise Men).....they come bearing a ............Christmas ham?
To Imogene (Mary)....  The Wise Men were dirty spies and they'd better keep their distance from baby Jesus---------or else.

......."Next came Gladys, from behind the angel choir, pushing people out of the way and stepping on everyone's feet.  Since Gladys was the only one in the pageant who had anything to say she made the most of it:  "Hey!  Unto you a child is born"  she hollered, as if it was, for sure, the best news in the world.  And all the shepherds trembled, sore afraid-of Gladys mainly....."

To ME....this is what "IT'S" all about.  

  No grand entrance.  No ceremony.  Not MUCH of an audience.  A few gifts, yes.  A few visitors.  Not a night you expect for the arrival of a King.    But that night?    That night was about something GREATER.  Emmanuel-----God....present among.....US.  God came near to US.   

With so little for us to offer Him.  Making Himself at   Bringing Peace.  Here.  Bringing the Truth.  Here.  Bringing Hope.  Here.  To live amongst all of our ugliness.  Our dirt.  Our sin. Our imperfection.  He came to WALK WITH US----in it all.
To meet where we our.  In our limited understanding....reveals His glory to us.  

 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us and we have seen His glory. John 1:14

.........."Everyone had been waiting all this time for the Herdmans to do something absolutely unexpected.  And sure enough, that was what happened.  Imogene Herdman was crying.  In the candlelight her face was all shiny with tears and she didn't even bother to wipe them away.  She just sat there-awful old Imogene-in her crookedy veil, crying and crying and crying............As far as I'm concerned Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman-sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby.  And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers bearing ham.  When we came out of the the church that night it was cold and clear, with crunchy snow underfoot and bright, bright stars overhead.  And I thought about the Angel of the Lord-Gladys, with her skinny legs and her dirty sneaker sticking out from under her robe, yelling at all of us, everywhere:  "Hey!  Unto you a Child is born!"    

For you.  For me.  And for the Herdmans.............:)


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