I am running a Facebook "Advent Calendar". You can find it by searching for "Burbania Posts". many of them don't translate well to this format, but when they do I will post them here...
ADVENT 12 2017
I find myself highly susceptible to Facebook roaming today. There is so much going on. Roy Moore appears in my feed quite a bit. The post-election analysis continues. However, Roy also makes an appearance with Harvey Weinstein et. al. on a list of the "worst people of 2017". It has been quite a year, hasn't it? Let's work toward a better one for next year.
Of course, for me, all this heaviness forms an unwelcome (if sadly familiar) backdrop to a time when we try to look to that better world. The holidays are an exercise in imagination. We tell ancient stories in the hope that we can live up to their promise. In the midst of a sometimes grinding, often dehumanizing reality, we must make space for those Advent values of Hope, Love, Joy, and Peace.
Here in the Advent-prep world we are quickly moving toward Pageant Sunday. This is one of my favorite services of the year. Right now we have a bit of an "innovation" to contend with. Thanks to logistical concerns there will be a few adults filling in various roles. It will be fun, though. It is always fun.
I leave the casting concerns in the capable hands of the pageant's longtime director. My job today is to begin to nail down the sermon. It is a strange one to preach as it comes after the pageant cast has left for their "party". This year it will be about embracing the festive elements of the season. "Let's Talk About Santa" is the title. I will try it out at the local nursing home this morning.
Actually it is a good pageant topic. The pageant story is, of course, the traditional one. It's a classic mashup of Luke and Matthew. That said, Santa (or his representative) briefly makes an appearance and the costuming is frequently non-traditional. Also, in our church at least, the actors lean toward the comedic rather than the somber.
Not a problem. We learn the story in ways that make sense to us. A pageant changes the medium from scripture to theater. The goal is to put life in the static words. The lives that enter them (and that those words enter) bring their own stories with them. The actors, audience, writers, and directors are bound to make their own interpretations.
The solemn scripture reading will come at the late services of Christmas Eve. The early one will be ukuleles and carols mostly. There will be a time for the hushed silences. I know a lot of people are looking forward to it.
However, for me that is next week's concern. Now we are connecting to the wonder in a different way. We are letting the light in on this week of Joy--liturgically at least. We are keeping the faith that the world can and will be redeemed. That is worth a party.