For me, it doesn’t feel like Christmas until the pre-schoolers stand in front of the congregation and sing.
This last Sunday, the season began at my church, and I was struck by the many different personality types that become showcased in such an event – much to the chagrin of the personalities’ parents.
It also struck me that they are a metaphor of the many individuals that make up the awkward body called “the Church.”
There are the kids that scream out the lines of the song that they are sure about, hoping perhaps that the volume will cover their lack of singing at other points.
There are the kids that know all the hand motions, but don’t seem to know the words.
Then there are the kids that have the words down pat, but have no idea how to put them into action.
And the kid (why does he always end up front and center?) that knows all the motions, just keeps putting them in the wrong place.
It seems every year that the child closest to the microphone is the one who feels the need to fill the time giving his personal, running monologue, seemingly unaware that he is no longer part of the body around him. He was represented quite well this year.
We also had the youngster that seemed happy at first to be up there, until she realized that she had to perform, so quickly ran crying down the aisle.
And, as a special treat for 2006, we had the kid who was angry that he was being forced to be there, so he petulantly placed his arms akimbo and shouted “No I won’t!” to the mortified mother in the second row.
He did not go unnoticed, as the initially sympathetic child standing next to him encouragingly patted his shoulder, and tried to tell Anger Boy that everything was okay. When the compassion was rebuffed with a “Don’t touch me!”, however, Empathy Lad turned snarky, and began touching (sweetly, of course) with abandon.
There is so much glee to be found in forcing consolation on those that don’t want it.
Next to Anger Boy and Empathy lad was the girl who chose to ignore the problem, turning her back slightly to the boys and raising her voice.
And on the other side of the group, the child who decided that the pre-fab words and motions weren’t enough to pay tribute to the music. So she just closed her eyes, spread her arms wide, and started dancing.
I’ve seen all these kids represented in the body of Christ.
In fact, I’ve been most of them.
Which one are you?
Just my thoughts,
Note: Photo provided by Andrea, proud mother of Emma, the shepherdess in the center.