Joy Cowley writes:
Happy Birthday Jesus!
We come like children to a party,
bearing gifts in your honour,
no surprises among them.
They’re much the same as last year
and all the years before that.
The gifts Joy Cowley is referring to are our very lives being brought to the God revealed in this baby Jesus
Some of them got a bit shabby,
worn and torn around the edges.
Some look as though they’re broken.
That can happen with promises.
And some need a bit of patching.
None of us come to God perfect and pristine. Like the Velveteen Rabbit we all come somewhat worn and shabby, fashioned that way by our experiences of life and love and suffering.
But they’re all here again for you,
our days, our dreams, our heart, our love,
given in complete confidence
that you who delight in the small,
the weak, the battered and broken,
will receive them with great rejoicing.
The God of Jesus delights in the small, what others consider weak. No matter how bruised by life we are there is room at God’s table for us. May we always make room for others.
As we light the candles and wish you
many happy returns to our hearts
we count the number of times
we have celebrated your birthday.
Christmas for many of us as we grow older is a celebration of the present, those round the table now, and also a celebration of the past – with all the invisible people at the table who were part of past Christmas’s but are now no longer alive;
Then we reflect on your love
and our dear little hearts catch fire
with the wonder of miracle.
You, brother Jesus, son of God,
never stop celebrating our birth.
The miracle of Christmas is that each and every person, each and every child, no matter how important or unimportant, matter to the God of Jesus. The God of Jesus never stops celebrating our birth, the fact that you and I matter – no matter what we’ve done or not done, no matter how wounded we are … We matter. This is the basis of love.
This too is the theology that underlies a Christmas Pageant. The pageant is a patchwork quilt of old Bible stories and later songs, spiced with humour, talking animals and the like, then re-enacted by the youth and children. Each person, each animal, each angel, matters to God and to us as a church. Together we matter. Indeed we believe that all people, everywhere, matter. And such a conviction leads us down multiple pathways of trying to make that ‘mattering’ a reality.