Author Patricia Livingston reflects on a Christmas play:
The Christmas Eve Service was supposed to start at 7.30pm and it was now 7.40pm and there was still no sign of the entrance procession. People were restless, the church was packed, the children were wound up with Christmas Eve excitement. A baby was crying hard, with the kind of build up and crescendo that usually makes parents bolt for the car park.
Near the front, an elderly woman in a red velvet dress said loudly, “That sounds to me like a very small child. Why on earth would they bring it out at night? ”
Suddenly the crying stopped, and the music began. Children costumed as shepherds, angels, wise men, Mary and Joseph led the entrance procession. Mary cradled a real baby, his face scarlet from the exertion of all that crying, a bottle stuck in his mouth. “Why, all that crying was Jesus! ” the woman in the red dress said loudly.
Before putting him in the manger, Mary lifted him to her shoulder and he let out a loud burp. Everyone burst out laughing. This was Jesus, crying and needing to be burped, experiencing first hand what life is like for us.
Jesus is the ultimate word of God saying, “I am with you. I am with you. I am with you.” Not just in ideal times, but in all the human moments.
“and his name shall be called Emmanuel, which means God with us.” (Matt. 1:21)
Source: Patricia Livingston, Daybreaks: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas, Liguori Publications. Thanks to Barrie Hibbert for the recommendation.
Dr Geoff Pound
Image: “Before putting him in the manger, Mary lifted him to her shoulder and he let out a loud burp.”