DREAMERS & STARGAZERS
First Lesson – Colossians 1.15-20
Jesus shows us the human face of God.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation; for in him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions of rulers or powers – all things have been created through him and for him. He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together. He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first born from the dead, so that he might come to have first place in everything. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heavy, by making peace through the blood of his cross.
CANDLES & CONIFERS
The stable cat’s story
I am the stable cat. It’s a good life. Not as soft and comfortable as a house cat’s, but the stable is quite presentable and I have a warm nest in one of the least draughty corners. There are lots of mice around. And the freedom is worth any discomfort. I do value my independence and quiet life. So I wasn’t best pleased when, just as I had settled down for a snooze after a good mousing session, the human from the inn next door burst in with two people to stay the night in my stable. It was obvious that my quiet life was over for some time. The woman was about to have a baby. We all know what a noise kittens can make – and human babies are worst! I couldn’t imagine why the weren’t in one of the inns. (Luke 2:7 explains.)
But, in spite of myself, as the night went on, I began to feel for that young couple. It must have been hard to have what was obviously a first child in such conditions. Much as I enjoy my stable I can see that it is not the ideal place for a human baby to be born. But the girl made no fuss. And in the darkest part of the night the baby was born. A boy. She cuddled him and she and the man looked as if they had been given the whole Earth. The place was full of the smell of joy and new baby. (The story is in Luke 2:1-8.)
Strange things happened that night. I was busy snuggling up to Mary (I’d found out her name by then) to keep her warm. There was much to think about and do what a new baby. Joseph was busy trying to make the place more comfortable and fixing up a feeding trough as a makeshift cradle. Looking back, maybe I did hear singing, outside and far away. But I didn’t pay any attention to it. Out on the hillside a few shepherds were visited by angels. Not just one this time, but a whole choir of them. (Luke 2:8-14.)
The four of us had just settled down. We were very tired. I must have dozed off for a minute or two. Suddenly, the stable was full of men. Rough and rather smelly men. Shepherds.
Joseph jumped up, ready to protect Mary and the baby. I jumped quickly to a safe place. But we need not have worried. They were very quiet. Almost shy. They muttered to one another. ‘It’s just as the angle said. It’s the Messiah. It’s David’s Son.’ They pulled themselves together and told us all about the angels and the singing and the great light, and the angel’s message. This baby was such a special baby. I was glad I’d been disturbed. It was worth it to be in on such a wonderful happening. God becoming a baby! Not quite a kitten, but very nearly! I purred very loudly. ‘See even the cat knows that has happened tonight,’ one of the shepherds said. (Luke 2:15-20.)
Pod’s Christmas Message
We hope you have enjoyed the stories of our ancestors. Enjoy the wrapping paper – and there are some rather special smells and tastes about too!
Even our own very special humans find it hard to understand our world completely. But we cats can understand that today is very very special (John 1:14) and that cats and human beings and even mice can all enjoy it. Pod, with a little help from Margaret Havery
Jan Sutch Pickard
Joseph: I’ve had enough!
This would try the patience of a saint;
and I don’t think I’m a saint,
just a man of principle.
Just an ordinary mortal
minding my own business –
Joiner and General Household Repairs –
trying to do my best
with the gifts God gives me:
Behold the handyman of the Lord!
Folk appreciate good workmanship.
On the whole they respect me:
a solid member of the community.
I never set out to be clever
but want to do what’s right.
And now this –
what will people say?
Mary – my intended –
she’s going to have a baby.
It’s not mine.
It can’t be mine.
What will people say?
Nazareth is a small town:
Everyone knows everyone else’s business.
This isn’t going to be good for trade:
I’ll be a laughing stock.
I’ll call the wedding off,
quietly of course,
that must be the right thing.
Joseph: That’s me. Joinery and General Household Repairs,
prompt service and cash terms. Who called?
Angel: I did.
Joseph: Who are you?
Angel: An angel of the Lord.
Joseph: I must be dreaming.
Angel: You are.
Joseph: I must be getting back to work.
Angels: Joseph, will you listen? –
you’re as thick as two short planks.
Joseph: It’s likely in my line of work.
Well, what do you want?
Angel: You are a descendant of David?
Joseph: Yes, you see, David begat Solomon
and Solomon, Rehogoam, who begat
Abijah, who begat Asa, who begat
Angel: Thank you. Do not be afraid to take
Mary to be your wife.
Angel: For it is by the Holy Spirit that she has been conceived.
Joseph: Well, I never…
Angel: I know. It was an immaculate conception.
She will give birth to a son
and you shall name him –
Angel: No – Jesus.
Joseph: What kind of name is that?
Angel: Jesus – for he will save his people from their sins.
Joseph: What, all our family?
All the people in Nazareth?
All God’s people?
All the people in Shadow Hills?
One little baby?
Angel: Yes, and so it will come true
what the Lord said through the prophet:
A virgin will become pregnant
and give birth to a son
and he will be called Emmanuel.
Joseph: But you told me to call him ‘Jesus’.
I can’t understand all this.
I’m good with my hands, not with my words –
just a manual worker.
Angel: Emmanuel is a special name.
It means ‘ God is with us’.
Joseph: What, with the workers”
With the people of Nazareth?
With the ordinary people of Shadow Hills?
With ordinary folk like me?
‘God is with us’ – that’s good enough for me.
Mary! Mary! …
We’re going to have a baby!
CLOTH FOR THE CRADLE
Mary and the Angel
Mary should be either standing or sitting and speak directly to the audience. When Gabriel Begins to speak she may interact with him or they can both simply speak to the front.
Gabriel: This is the story of what happened in the days before Jesus was born.
In the towns of Nazareth, there was a young Woman whose name was Mary.
Mary: I was washing the dishes at the time.
I was bending over the sink,
with my back turned away from the kitchen door –
not that he necessarily opened it.
I just remember hearing my name being called.
Mary: That’s me…
but who are you?
And what are you doing here in my kitchen?
Gabriel: It’s all right.
I’m called Gabriel.
Mary: But I don’t know any men called Gabriel.
Gabriel: I’m not a man.
I’m an angel.
Mary: You don’t look much like an angel to me.
Gabriel: Have you seen an angel before?
But they always have wings.
Where are your wings?
Gabriel: I don’t need them when I’m not flying.
Mary: So, what are you doing in my kitchen?
Gabriel: I’ve come to bring you a message.
Mary: You’re putting me on!
Gabriel: No. I’m not.
I’ve come to tell you that God has chosen you
to enable the Incarnation to take place.
Mary: To enable the what?
Gabriel: The Incarnation..the word becoming flesh.
Mary: Gabriel, what are you talking about?
Gabriel: You’re going to become pregnant.
Mary: Not with you, I’m not!
And not in here.
What do you think I am?
Gabriel: Mary…It’s all right.
God has chosen you
to become the mother of his son.
Mary: Me? … I’m not even married.
Gabriel: (speaking calmly)
The Holy Spirit will descend on you,
and you will conceive a child,
and you will call him Jesus.
That means “savior.”
Out of all the women in history,
God has chosen you.
Out of all the minutes in history,
this is the one in which God needs a woman
not to give him her body,
but to give him her Yes.
Mary: (almost speechless)
…but what will my parents say?
Gabriel: They’ll be all right.
Mary: What will Joseph say?
Gabriel: Don’t worry.
I’ll have a word with him.