'Tis the season for Christmas pageants. What is a UU to do? Go with it! We had our annual children's Christmas pageant today. While I am sure quite a few in the audience do not believe in the Christmas miracle, everyone got something from the performance. The children did a wonderful job. I love seeing the kids put their own personalities into the play. Every child from five to eleven has some vital part to play. This year, the town of Bethlehem was not lacking in bakers, flock, and angels! I know it took a lot of courage for some of the kids to get up there and speak and, I, for one, was proud of them. I especially love that baby Jesus was played by two very cute little baby girls (we are an equal opportunity theatre ;-).
I imagine it must be difficult for UU ministers to address Christmas. Just the word Christmas dregs up so many different meanings and experiences for people. How do you provide a service that addresses all the positive and negative aspects of the holiday and make it meaningful? I don't have a good answer. Personally, I think Jesus would be disappointed that his birthday has become such an unbridled spending spree. While I am not a Jesus scholar, everything that I have read seems to indicate that Jesus advocated going out and doing good deeds, not sitting around and overeating and over spending in the name of his birthday*. I often think it would be much more in the spirit of his teachings that if on Christmas everyone went out a did something nice for someone else. Something that went beyond buying. Something that included getting to really know someone in need and working together to make the situation better. I know this is a cliche - but what a great world it would be if this actually happened.
Finally, though, I really like how our pageant ends with the thought that every child that is born is a miracle and that miracle is a wonder onto itself. To me, that is an excellent reason to celebrate Christmas.
* I know that it has been shown December 25th is probably not his actual birthday - but since the powers that be have deigned to use that date, so will I.