At church yesterday, we got the pleasure of seeing our annual Christmas Children’s Musical. It’s a chance for the children of the church to put together a great presentation celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
This year, the musical, Miracle on Main Street, really struck me, because it’s so true to how life really is right now.
It opened with the children preparing for their annual Christmas musical, to be held in the town square, when suddenly, the mayor decides to cancel. It’s a re-election year, and he knows that allowing a Christian-themed pageant could cost him some votes, so he blames the cancellation on the fact that it would add to the “traffic.”
The kids decide to take matters into their own hands by going door-to-door caroling, encouraging the residents of the city to call the mayor and ask him to reverse his decision.
At the first house, which was decorated to the hilt, with wreaths and reindeer and candy canes and lights, the children rang the bell and caroled. The homeowners shooed them on their way, saying that the annual town square Christmas scene was too “preachy” and belonged in a church, not the town square.
I feel like, so often, this is true. Many people go full-tilt into the holidays, but are not recognizing the true meaning of Christmas. I recently had a friend who posted an image on facebook saying “Just because I’m an atheist doesn’t mean I don’t love Christmas music!” But I have to ask myself, without Christ, what’s the point? I mean, go ahead and sing all of your “Holly Jolly Christmas” and “Santa Baby,” but seriously, that’s so empty. Without Christ, Christmas doesn’t exactly have meaning.
So many people are quick to say “Christmas belongs in church.” It wasn’t that long ago that atheists in one California town got upset over the religious displays set up, and the fact that they won so few of the lottery slots to put up their displays in the town square. They chose to use their spots the following year to trash Christmas and say that it was a lie.
Why even bother?
In the musical, at the second house, which was also decorated quite a bit, the kids rang the doorbell and caroled again. This house’s residents were more welcoming, saying that they loved the music, and that they loved to celebrate all of the holidays. After all, why exclude one if they don’t know which of the tales is the true one?
After that house, the children seemed to decide “If you’re going to celebrate ALL of the holidays, you may as well not celebrate ANY of them… after all, there’s no meaning or spirit behind it to just put on the show of celebrating them all.”
I have to agree. Another of my friends on facebook greeted her children with books from all of the different winter holidays from various religions and cultures, including Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, and Yule. They celebrate each one, fully, as though it’s their own belief, even when they acknowledge it isn’t. It’s okay to teach your children about other holidays and religious or cultural celebrations, but I, like the children in the play, question the intent.
I feel this way about it:
Suppose I’m going to rank what is most important to me by giving everything a score of 1-10. I could rank everything #1, but it literally has the exact same meaning as if I ranked everything #10, because nothing is in the lead at all either way.
Finally, in the musical, the children stopped at a third house that was decorated just slightly, a sole wreath providing the only Christmas cheer outside the home.
One of the children questioned if they should even stop, because, after all, there were no flashing lights or bright decorations of candy canes and Santa on the lawn, but the children decided to stop anyway.
As the woman opened the door, the children sang and brought tears to her eyes. The wreath was the only decoration she was able to put up while her husband was away in the Air Force, but she felt that Jesus was a true tie that made them feel close together, even when they were far apart. She promised the children she would call the mayor and beg him to put the Christmas musical back on, noting that she had a special connection at the mayor’s office that might make it possible.
The children said, after she had closed the door, that no matter what the house looked like on the outside, if it had the sparkle on the inside, it’s what mattered, and that her spirit provided enough Christmas cheer on it’s own.
The mayor finally decided to let the children do the pageant, even if it would cost him votes, because, as it turns out, his grown daughter was the one in the house with that lone wreath. She reminded him of the true meaning that Christmas had.
I feel like this is so true, so often, that we let things like public opinion and re-elections and what others think influence how we celebrate Christmas, and how much of an emphasis we put on Christ in the celebrations.
My blog can be bad about that, sometimes… I often show the crafts and the baking and the cheer that we have when we create ornaments and wreaths and cookies, but I sometimes get caught up and forget to show that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about ribbons and bows…
It’s about Jesus.
Christ is the reason that we have Christmas, celebrating his birth. You can tell me about how we stole the holiday from the pagans, that they’ve been celebrating winter holidays for longer, and you can remind me that Jesus wasn’t born in December, but probably another part of the year. But what I’m going to remind you is that it doesn’t matter when we celebrate, as long as the intent is there.
Jesus came. He preached. He died, was buried, and rose again, covering our sins in His blood, wiping them away, letting us overcome them. He will come again, bringing us back to Heaven to celebrate, rejoice, and praise His holy name.
Christmas is my chance to remember his birth, to remember the miracles God created when the Angel came to Mary and told her, do not be afraid. It’s my opportunity to remember that Jesus was born to save me, to save my son, my parents, my brother, my family, my friends, if only we would take time to accept him.
Despite the ribbons and bows, a true miracle is here, and we need to remember that.
I’m so glad that a Children’s Choir could remind me that, no matter how my house looks on the outside, my inner sparkle needs to be focused on Jesus and really showing others that message.