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Our Current Virtual Church Message

Christmas Chaos

The Christmas pageant this year was supposed to be a collage of Christmas. The pageant was to be a smattering of everything Christmas over the last 2000 years. There was going to be the baby Jesus, Joseph, Mary, Shepherd's, Santa Claus (some folks objected), modern day toys beneath a giant tree, and even Scrooge was supposed to be a part of this year's annual Christmas event.

Mostly little children were to be involved but an exception was made for Scrooge. There was man who lived next door to the church whose name was Smith. Mr. Smith was a real life Scrooge. Didn't' like people. Didn't like children. Didn't like anything or anyone. Mr. Smith was old and mean. People didn't like Mr. Smith because Mr. Smith didn't like them. Mr. Smith never smiled. He always frowned.

In August, when the Christmas program was planned, jokingly the planning committee thought Mr. Smith would be a great representation of Scrooge. After all, Mr. Smith never came to church. Mr. Smith and Scrooge had identical personas. Only as a joke, the planning committee coerced the pastor into asking Mr. Smith to be Scrooge. Of course, the pastor resisted but the pastor didn't get the joke. By mistake, because the pastor didn't get the joke, the pastor went next door the next day expecting to get a "Ba Humbug" for sure. For a reason known only to God, Mr. Smith came to the door, listened to the pastor's proposal, and accepted. The pastor was stunned beyond belief at "Humbug's" acceptance to be a part of this year's Christmas pageant.

During the planning and rehearsal stages in October things began to get a little strange. A newborn baby who was supposed to play Jesus was not available because the family moved away. A substitute Jesus was found in a little boy who was just a bit older than a toddler. The boy was starting to say a few words. The committee said, "He will be cute." Because the new Jesus was bigger than a new-born a new manger was assembled. The little ones, who were to play the sheep at the manger scene, seemed overly active, as in hyperactive, but the committee said, "They will be cute." Mary and Joseph, both about 5, tended to wander away from the manger scene during rehearsals but the committee said, "They will be cute." The little boy and girl who were chosen to be Christmas trees, liked to do spin moves and throw off their ornaments. The committee said, "They will be cute." And Scrooge…he relished his role. During rehearsals, with a booming voice Scrooge would belt out "Ba Humbug" at any moment.

On the evening of the pageant, everyone assembled off stage in a moment of rare solemnity. All the children were exceptionally quiet. There was a kind of unnerving quiet in the air. This unnerving quiet was like the quiet before a storm. As the pageant began, all the participants and Scrooge entered onto the stage, and then things started devolving. The sheep, the little hyperactive ones, started jumping and running around all over the place. The trees started spinning. Jesus would pop his head up over the edge of the manager and wave at Scrooge. Jesus would then shout out "Scoooooge…." Then break out into an infectious cackle of laughter. The moment had an affect upon Scrooge. When Scrooge went to belt out the familiar "Ba Humbug" what came out was a belly laugh. Scrooge was so changed by the chaos of the moment, Scrooge got laughingly hysterical.

Then there was the cherub incident. Every year, as a tradition, regardless of the Christmas play, a little child dressed up as a cherub was lowered down from the ceiling. Well, this year something went wrong. The rigging in the bell tower suspending the little cherub got twisted up and the cherub starting violently spinning on the end of the suspension wire. The poor cherub didn't know what to do, so there was this desperate cry of "Help! Help!" as the spinning cherub was slowly lowered toward the manger.

The program director who was seated in the first pew next to the center aisle was sort of paralyzed in shock. With a helpless daze on her face, she wondered, "Why aren't they cute?

Now the audience seated in the sanctuary was in a good mood to start with but when the chaos broke out, the audience fell into hilarity.

Every child had a little piece to say but none of the children could remember a thing. Instead, the children would wave at someone in the audience and then start rolling on the floor, or running up and down the center aisle, or something equally chaotic. All this with a background of Scrooge's having gone berserk with laughter.

After fifteen minutes of goofy chaos, the program director stood up and faced the audience. The director said, "Well, we had a nice program planned. The children are really cute." At that point, Scrooge got out his first "Ba Humbug" which brought uncontrolled laughter from everyone.

When the director couldn't take it any more, everyone sang a few hymns, and proceeded to the fellowship hall for refreshments and gift exchange. Oh, Mr. Smith who played Scrooge became a different man. Mr. Smith was a very different guy after meeting Jesus in the pageant. He started coming to church every Sunday. He laughed, he smiled. He gave His heart to Christ on Easter.

You just never know how God is going to do what God wants to do.

This message is fiction and presented to bring you joy and good humor. The message appeared in December,  2010, in the Virtual Church web site at http://www.findthepower.com

 

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations marked (RSV) are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Copyright © 1952 [2nd edition, 1971] by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Shepherd's Care Ministries author and webmaster, Rev. Patrick Kelly, is affiliated through ministerial ordination with Church of God Ministries, Anderson IN 46018