Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Would the Virgin Mary have worn a new red dress?

Commotion erupted backstage of the church Christmas play when a five-year-0ld girl, who was slated to play Mary, refused to wear anything but her new red dress.

The adults backstage pleaded with her, the director spoke to her, and finally her parents talked to her about the need to wear the costume for Mary instead of her new red dress. The little girl would not be moved, and insisted on wearing the dress, or she would not go onstage. The play was already late in starting, so the director stepped to the microphone and announced, "Due to circumstances beyond our control, Mary, the mother of Jesus, will appear tonight in a new red dress."

The congregation erupted in laughter. A voice was heard from behind the curtain shouting, "If Mary had had a new red dress, she would have worn it!"

I agree with her. That little girl understood something that we forget-- although Mary was the virgin mother of the Savior, she was still a real woman with real feelings. Imagine the emotions Mary must have carried that first Christmas: frustration at those who did not understand that her child was conceived by the Holy Spirit, fear at what Joseph would think, and amazement at the arrival of shepherds from Bethlehem and wise men from the east. The Bible says that after the shepherds came to see the Christ child, Mary treasured these memories in her heart (Luke 2:19).

Yes, the birth of Mary's son was no sideline show. This was the event that ushered the Savior of the world onto the stage of world history. So I must agree with the little girl in the church play-- if Mary had had a new red dress, she would have worn it!

Copyright 2007 by Bob Rogers

Monday, December 3, 2007

Oops! Did our chuch sign really say that?

One Sunday night a church member eagerly showed me a photograph he had taken on his digital camera of our church sign. I read it and said, "So? It says 'Celebrate Christmas with us.'"
He replied, "No, it doesn't. Read it again."
That's when I noticed the "R" missing from "Celebrate."
I just stared at the photo. "Does it still say that?"
"No, we already corrected it. But I'm thinking about moving my membership," he said with a smirk.
Well, he's still a member, at least for now, but that little error is a reminder that we have to watch out that we don't communicate the wrong message. Especially at Christmas.
People often talk about "the real meaning of Christmas" and then go off on subjects like "spending time with family." Now, I plan to spend time with family myself at Christmas, but that's not the real meaning of Christmas. The real meaning is that God looked down at a messed-up world, and decided to get personally involved with us human beings. He didn't just send down commands to follow. He sent a Person to follow. He didn't just tell us how to live. He showed us how to live. He did it through a baby, Jesus Christ, who went from the cradle to the cross so that we could go from the grave to heaven when we die.
That's reason to celebrate (with an "R").