“They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger.”
Luke 2:16 CEB
Sunday worship was the Hanging of the Greens, a lovely service in which the children take center stage. Decked out in costumes, they decorate the front of the sanctuary with greens, mistletoe, poinsettias, Chrismon (Christmas decorations with Christian symbols on them), and the star. They light candles, ring bells, and populate the creche with Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds, magi, and animals. All of this is accompanied by lovely music and readings that explain the origin and meaning of each of these symbols.. This service was written by the Rev. Ken Bishop and 1952 and remains much the same as it did 69 years ago. It is a highlight of the church year at St. Paul’s.
Of course, we never know what will happen when upwards of 20 children, ranging in age from 3 – 15, are involved. This year, the youngest children took turns putting the creche scene in order. One magi ended up precariously poised on the roof of the creche, perhaps on the lookout for King Herod. When all the characters were in place, the stable was filled with baby Jesus in the manger and all the animals gathered ‘round. Apparently, there was no room in the stable for Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, and magi. They were forced to look on from outside. It was not your usual creche scene.
Who is to say what that scene was really like? The Bible is short on details, and the children filled in the blanks as they saw fit. Perhaps they understood, in a way that our human-centered world view prevents us from understanding, that “Through Jesus God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.” (John 1:3)
“The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. (Isaiah 11:16)
Thanks, children, for leading us! ~ Anne