Tonight I attended another Advent service. This one was not as polished as the one the week before…but it was every bit as powerful. In some ways, maybe more so–because it wasn’t “traditional.”
It was planned by a group of young adults, and it was titled “Christmas Re-Imagined.” It used drama and contemporary songs to tell the Christmas story as it was re-imagined through the mind/memory of a young man, visiting his aging father and responding to the father’s wish for a Christmas story, even though the son had left it behind in many ways years ago. And so he told it…in a way that was meaningful to him.
I sometimes think that we tend to sanitize the story. It’s safe to do that, because–after all–it happened 2000 years ago.
But what if it happened today? Who would be the angel reassuring Joseph that he should go ahead and marry Mary…that everything would be okay? that love is the most important thing when you boil the essence of everything down to what’s essential? Would it be a homeless man that he ran across–and gave everything he had to (as it was in the drama)?
Where would be the stable? the Mariott laundry room?
Who would be the shepherds? reporters for a gossip magazine?
And what would our reaction be? Would we see that there was something significant about this birth? Do we see that there’s something significant about every birth? That–as the speaker said–every birth is God’s “yes” to our “no”? that Christmas is a love story…of God’s never-ending love for each one?
Every Christmas we need to re-imagine the story…to make it connect with us…to make Christmas–the true meaning of Christmas–not something that happened 2000 years ago, but something that happens every year. Christ comes anew…will we recognize him?