24 & 25, 2002
Nativity of the Lord Christmas Eve & Day - Proper 2
Luke 2:(1-7) 8-20
About that time Caesar Augustus ordered a census to be taken
throughout the Empire. This was the first census when Quirinius
was governor of Syria. Everyone had to travel to his own ancestral
hometown to be accounted for. So Joseph went from the Galilean
town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David's town, for
the census. As a descendant of David, he had to go there. He
went with Mary, his fiancee, who was pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her to give birth. She
gave birth to a son, her firstborn. She wrapped him in a blanket
and laid him in a manger, because there was no room in the hostel.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had
set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood
among them and God's tory blazed around them. They were terrified.
The angel said, "Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a
great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide:
A Savior has just been born in David's town, a Savior who is
Messiah and Master. This is what you're to look for: a baby wrapped
in a blanket and lying in a manger."
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing
"Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please him."
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the
sheepherders talked it over. "Let's get over to Bethlehem
as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed
to us." They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and
the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told
everyone they met what the angels had said about this child.
All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep
within herself. The sheepherders returned, and let loose, glorifying
and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned
out exactly the way they'd been told!
Let's play parts -
Joseph - Without a census (since there probably wasn't one) what
would it mean for Joseph to return to David's experience (home
Might he remember the scandal of David and Bathsheba and know
it eventually turned out alright? - be brave Joseph!
Might he remember their unusually conceived firstborn died? -
be afraid Joseph!
How would you play Joseph?
Sheepherders - Going along with everyday work, along comes an
unusual experience of glory. It gets them running (for their
lives). Confirmation of their glorious epiphany brings them back
to earth - an animal manger. It was as it was told.
So they told everyone they met that day or night about this sign
of change, this sign of peace (meaning things have to change).
How long do you think they told the story? Did it change their
behaviors and relationship to the powers that be? Did any of
them keep up with Jesus and later become a follower? Were they
all dead by the time of Jesus' ministry blossomed?
How would you play a sheepherder?
Mary - Did Mary bring a blanket along for just such an occasion?
Was it a gift from an unnamed midwife or compassionate relative
in Bethlehem? Was it her own blanket meaning she went cold into
that good night (or was it really a warm spring eve)?
Did she just treasure the sheepherders arrival and praise, or
did she also treasure the blanket?
At what points would she pull the treasures out to revisit them
and how would she deal with them in future times of encouraging
Jesus to change water into wine or holding Jesus back by calling
him away from those who were doing the desire of GOD?
How would you play Mary of a Treasured Heart?
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