Christmas Pageant, 2014

Title:Christmas Pageant, 2014

 Advent 4, Christmas Play, December 21, 2014  (full size gallery)

Christmas Play 2014 videos

A busy week at St. Peter’s with 15 people on the 16th at the ECW luncheon in Tappahannock, 21 families helped on Thursday with the second Village Harvest distribution and then the youth group giving away $1,000!  All this before the Christmas play on Sunday

The Christmas Play or Pageant has been with St. Peter’s since the 1990’s. Among churches it is unique since it involves so many in the congregation. It is not just a children’s celebration. The cast listing is here.

It changes largely to accomodate the children and adults in the church. As such it is a reflection of who we are and whose we are as Bishop Gulick likes to say.

To some extent it also reflects Advent 4 when it traditionally takes place. Advent 4 invites us to respond to the wonder and mystery of God and to acknowledge his plans for us. In 2 Samuel, God overwhelms David with the promise of an eternal kingdom to David’s heir. Paul in Romans proclaims that in Jesus Christ the mystery of the ages is revealed. Luke’s account of Mary open her spirit, soul and spirit to the mystery and word of God.

The last two plays tended to spotlight one figure – Gabriel or Mary. This year’s play was shorter and simply told the entire story. Highlights included Mary and Elizabeth’s moving dialog. (Cookie memorized her lines and was very effective). Alex rendition of Angel Gabriel was also magnificent helped by his height and booming voice. (This is actually his favorite part that he played in year’s past). Mary and Joseph did a wonderful job with the Baby Jesus even when the latter started crying. The Shepherds and angels acted out their parts well.

Of note were the costumes made by the Fisher family. It is an amazing set that will last for years. Callie also was able to get all the children into costume before the play and keep it all together. (She brought her entire family as well).  Elizabeth’s family from Ohio was also here and watched the preparation of the actors/actresses. 

After the play we celebrated Rob’s birthday and Cookie and  Johnny’s anniversary. The anniversary was 30 years to the day!   Communion featured braided bread made by Catherine on Saturday and pottery vessels.

Commentary by Lance Ousley, Canon of the Diocese of Olympia

This week I can’t seem to shake the idea that we have to be open to receive the gifts God has for us. This is where the heart of stewardship begins, in truly receiving what God gives us. We cant’ give what we do not have, and we do not have what we have not received. This theme of being open to God’s blessings runs through all of the lessons this week.

In 2 Samuel we hear that David wants to do something for God, but that God has bigger plans for David, instead . God seeks to bless David far greater that he can ask for or imagine. And from this blessing, the Davidic gift to God will be much farther reaching than a Temple built for God of cedar and stone by David. But David must put aside his own agenda to receive what God has in store for him and for the world. In David’s openness to receive God’s gifts he becomes a conduit for God to bless the whole world.

But another one has to be open to receive God’s gift to bless the world further, too. Mary overcomes her own feelings of inadequacy, whether they are borne from within or from a culture that doesn’t honor the poor, to become Theotokos and share the divine Word in the flesh with the whole world. Her faithful stewardship of the blessing of her womb opening herself to God, bears the fruit of salvation for us all.

Paul’s voice comes to us this week in his epistle to the Romans. This is the Paul who as Saul had closed himself off from God’s mystery. But the Resurrected Christ overshadowed him and he experienced a conversion from faith to faith. In his new understanding through this experience he became the chief evangelist to the Gentiles, stewarding the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those outside the traditional realm of faith. His epistle to the Romans speaks clearly to both the Jewish Christians and the Gentile Christians about being open to what God’s Spirit has in store for them and not letting the traditions of the Law or culture keep them from living in the light of Christ.

God comes to us, again and again with divine persistence wanting to gift us and the world. God seeks us, to enter into our hearts and bless the world with the gift of God’s presence. When we are open to God and receive God’s gifts more than ourselves are blessed. So in this season of God’s own waiting, will we receive God? Will we be stewards of the wombs of our hearts and let God enter into the world through the Spirit working within us? Do we have enough humility to let the Divine enter and bless in ways far greater than we can ask or imagine?

I pray we, the Church, say yes to all these questions, and God will do with our openness to receive the divine gifts what we thought was impossible for the whole world.

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