penny in a castle

A digital chapbook.

Light  

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Today I opened the twenty-first door on my advent calendar and found…light.

Today is the Winter Solstice. The darkest day of the year.  From here it can only go uphill towards the light.

First Nations celebrate Winter Solstice and see it as a time for telling tales.  It’s a good time to rest and to remember our histories in story and song.

The Romans also celebrated the darkest day of the year, and early Christians told their stories in the safety of the darkness of the coming of the light.

Today, the church where we go to now told the story of its roots through the annual Christmas pageant and the pantomime of children.

And, just like it does every year, it begins in chaos.  Sort of like the beginning of the universe formed in darkness (or Lord of the Flies – depending on your perspective).  If you were to watch the rehearsal last night, you would have thought entropy had won.  Children running amuck in bathrobes and white choir dresses.  Wings and wool flying this way and that.  Trans-specied sheep exploring their inner cow (moo).  Baby Jesus falling through the hole in the manger.

Each year brings a new oddity.  The year Baby Jesus was slid across the floor after he was forgotten by the way side (we have video evidence). The year the donkey looked more like a Ring Wraith.  A child almost sets fire to the church (and after that we ensure the advent wreath is somewhere else for the pageant).  The year one kid refused to do anything – so we made him the star of the show. Literally. And gave him a giant dangerous tin-foil star and we hoped he wouldn’t impale anyone on.  This year, we bended the genders a bit more and had a female centurion (we almost had a female Joseph – maybe next year we will).  We had the youngest reader and musician ever.

Every year brings commonality.  More children want to be the donkey than Joseph (he/she gets the best line – heehaw).  Sheep refuse to go down the aisle.  Kids who promise they will be there don’t show and we have to make things up.  Lines are forgotten, cues are missed.  Parents who have never seen my husband in action shaking their heads. You can see the thought bubble over their heads “What a mess. How is this ever going to come together?”

But every year, we have a Christmas pageant miracle.  The musicians play beautiful songs. The congregation sings along – and laughs gently in all the right places. The children all do as they are instructed.  And in their wise-to-the-universe way bring forth the best and the most beautiful.  The greatest tale of them all is told again. The earth swings back on its pendulum. The Word becomes Light.  In excelsis deo – even if we can’t pronounce it yet.

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Written by pennyinacastle

December 22, 2014 at 4:41 am

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