Since I’m Still Holding onto Christmas, I’m pleased to continue today with Heidi Epp, a wonderfully creative artist who has planned, written, and led 7 Christmas Eve productions and 3 Christmas Day theatrical services. Heidi’s experience is inspiring:
What I’ve learned in all of this is that no matter how many times you look at, think about, and tell the story of Christ’s birth, there is always something more to see, more to hear, more to consider and learn, more to share with others. We need to keep telling and sharing this story with the world. Let’s invite them into the stable, let’s sit close enough to each other in body and heart to feel each other’s breath, see each other’s tears and warm each other even in our imperfection, especially in our imperfection that can be so inconvenient, overwhelming, and mess with our plans. Jesus never said that following him would be convenient, but it is worth sooo much more!
For this season’s Christmas Day celebration, the congregation sang O Little Town of Bethlehem, and then Mary began her monologue:
I’m curious, how you get these pictures?
Where does the idea come from that the small —
admittedly normally dozy — little town of Bethlehem
Was quiet and still when it was so overcrowded due to the census
that there was no room for us in the Inn?
All is calm?
Do any of you remember the birth of your first child?
How calm were you?
How about giving birth in a stable with livestock?
All is bright? Um, we didn’t have electricity.
It was dark. Really dark!
Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes?
After all the waiting, traveling, and labor,
what mother doesn’t long to hear her newborn’s first cry?
Do you think that God took on human flesh to be silent?
Emmanuel, God with us, came to cry, to laugh, to speak,
to live, to love out loud!
Jesus cried after being born, like any healthy baby boy! Praise God!
Then later Mary continued:
He lived, healing out loud, forgiving out loud,
teaching out loud, feeding the thousands out loud,
laughing and playing with the children out loud,
praying out loud, comforting out loud,
dying out loud, redeeming us out loud,
rising from the dead out loud.
I appreciate Heidi’s thoughtful and fresh approach to Mary, and the way Jesus’ later life and ministry are included in the Christmas story. I’m also pleased to hear that Heidi is now thinking about publishing her Christmas worship materials together as a unit, and I look forward to hearing more from her!