Monday, December 04, 2006

Abiding In the Fields

Some folks think the Christmas season begins the first of December; some (in chillier climes) when the first snow falls; some when Santa makes his entrance at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. (Retailers mark it somewhere in the middle of August.)

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.


Anonymous said...

My favorite Christmas pageant moment was when a 2-year-old sheep decided he was done and tried to run off with one of baby Jesus' presents. I'm not sure what that corresponds to in the body of Christ, tho.


Anonymous said...

Not anger boy, but more "grumpy chump", I never learned the words and was one of the only boys in my group, so i always had to sing. *sigh* i was always forced into such roles by default. darn the parents in my town for not making their sons sing along with me!


Sarah said...

I grew up in church music programs (mother = organist/choir director, older siblings in choirs). By the time I was in choir, I was all about the business. I tried to ignore those who were (in my mind) "messing up".

Yeah. Just call me Choir Snob Girl.