Day 254: Merry Christmas Eve

Every year at our Christmas Eve service, Berkeley's Pastor Bill likes to give a message relating to the fact that all people should be in the manger business. The manger business, to Pastor Bill, means two things:

1. That you should be a light where you are planted, whether in a dirty manger in Bethlehem (when it snows in Bethlehem, then I will start to listen to East Coasters' claims that Californians don't know what a "Real Christmas" is), or a Tokyo high rise.

2. That if you can't choose where you're planted (you can't), you can choose where you grow. And you should do so in some of the dirtier, scummier, needier places on the planet. Pastor Bill is not sure that God is really going to be all that impressed if you argue that your big life accomplishment was your three car garage.

Tonight, he expanded on this theme to give some other interesting facts that we might have all guessed at. Specifically, most giving in the US comes from middle class, lower middle class, and lower class individuals. At our church - which has no wealth to speak of, but which somehow manages to sustain its tiny, and ever tinier membership - when one hundred individuals come together the average amount of money collected is 25 dollars.

Then the message began to derail some, into some of his favorite themes, such as accurate observations on globalization, peasant farmers, the 850 million people in China, and the way that one can bridge cultures through humorous dancing, which he calls "wiggling about."

Anecdote-wise, this year the church did not give one homeless man a new wheelchair, nor did an 85 year old member of the 6 person choir fall off a step and require an ambulance, but it was still interesting enough. The angels and wise men wore the same costumes they did when I was their age, playing Joseph, who happened to be mute the year I did him. The same woman who serves as my brother's most vocal adult cheerleader in the congregation continued, for the 20th year in a row, to call him by the wrong name: Toby, despite the fact that his name was in the program.

Tony (not Toby) was a reader, as usual, only this time I thought he had made a grave error when he said that King Herod was "pregnant." Shocked, I recovered when I realized he had actually said "frightened," but then became paranoid once again because "pregnant" and "frightened" do not actually sound similar at all, and I am too young to have babies on the brain, so to speak. But THEN I threw this out the window when I met the newest member of the congregation, and Pastor Bill's first grandson: Radman, who is so cute I would like to own him.

Radman, which means joy in a language I know not which, was wearing a My First Christmas jumper, and looked decidely larger than his 5 weeks. He made me pissed off, though, because he's already going to be bilingual in Spanish and English. And I, sadly, am still not.

Merry Christmas, to Radman (who can't read) and everyone else. Be well, and do good, this holiday season.


Claire and Lara said...

picture stolen (but attributed to) jonathan

sarah mac said...

you made me laugh out loud with pregnant-frightened.

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