Summary: A brief sermon delivered after a Children's Christmas Pageant (taken from an article in Restoration Herald, December 1996, entitled "Do You Hear What I Hear?" by Forrest Hahn)
There was a couple who desperately wanted children. They prayed to the Lord and he gave them 4 children in 4 years. When the children were still 5 years old and younger, they were the stars of the Christmas pageant. Here are the mothers words to describe the production: “My daughter was playing Mary, two of my sons were shepherds and my youngest son was a wise man. This was their moment to shine. My 5 year old shepherd had practiced his line, ‘We found the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes.’ But he was nervous and said, ‘The baby was wrapped in wrinkled clothes.’ My 4 year old (playing the part of Mary) said, ‘That’s not wrinkled clothes, it’s dirty, rotten clothes.’ A wrestling match broke out between Mary and the shepherd and was stopped by an angel, who bent her halo and lost her left wing. Finally, my other son stepped forward wearing a bathrobe and a paper crown, knelt at the manger and announced, ‘We are the three wise men, and we are bringing gifts of gold, common sense and fur.’ The congregation dissolved into laughter, and the pageant got a standing ovation. ‘I’ve never enjoyed a Christmas program as much as this one,’ laughed the preacher, wiping tears from his eyes. ‘For the rest of my life, I’ll never hear the Christmas story without thinking of gold, common sense and fur.’”
The title of a Christmas song asks the question, “Do you hear what I hear?” I believe this is a good question because many of us can’t hear what is really being said at Christmas.
There’s conversation in the Peanuts comic strip between Peppermint Patty and her friend Marcie. They are walking to school and Peppermint Patty says, “I’m going to ask the teacher if I can be Mary in the Christmas play this year.” Marcie answers, “She already asked me, sir.” Patty continues, “I think I’ll be great in the part.” Marcie says again, “She asked me yesterday.” Ignoring her, Patty declares, “I really like the part where the angel Gabriel talks to me.” Exasperated, Marcie says, “Why would Gabriel talk to you? You never listen!”
Ronnie Freeman’s song, God Speaking: Have you ever heard a love song that Set your spirit free Have you ever watched a sunrise and Felt you could not breathe What if it's Him What if it's God speaking Chorus: Who knows how He'll get a hold of us Get our attention to prove He is enough He'll do and He'll use Whatever He wants to To tell us "I love you" His ways are higher His ways are better Though sometimes strange What could be stranger Than God in a manger What if it’s God speaking?
It just may be that at Christmas, God is speaking louder than at any other time of the year. Trouble is, it’s so hard to hear Him above the sound of cash registers and exchange lines. Don’t get me wrong. I love my family and the opportunity this time of the year affords, but I hope that I never get comfortable with a culture that embraces a material Christmas but refuses to hold close the child on whom the holiday rests.