I write this while sitting on the steps in the front of the sanctuary on a quiet weekday morning. I'm the only one in here — I may be the only one in the entire church — and it's cavernous and quiet. But the work I'm focusing on will be anything but quiet, as I get ready to start our Christmas pageant preparations with the children.
Contemplating one of the most chaotic-yet-beautiful worship experiences of the year while in the solitude of our empty sanctuary feels right for Advent. Think of Mary and Joseph, amid a crowd but all alone. A king in a barn. God's new relationship with all of creation bursting into life but entering so subtly.
For as long as I have the privilege of ministry with children, I'll repeat this: the Christmas Pageant is not a show, it is worship. It is not a play, it is a service in which the children offer you a rare window into the sacred scriptures. It is full of wiggles and stillness, laughs and whispers, distraction and rapt attention. Like the real thing, it is chaos and plan, art and nature, human and divine.
Welcome into the real, rich holiness of the season, and into the young and burgeoning life of this ancient faith and venerable Parish. You saw these steps on which I now sit full to overflowing with children last Sunday. In the coming weeks and months I hope you — yes, you — will get to know them better, in all their holy energy and sacred serenity.