What Script Do You Want?

Who are you in the Christmas story? Who do you want to be?
There’s that scene in the classic Christmas special, “Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown,” where Charlie Brown, tasked with directing the school Christmas play, has Lucy hand out the scripts. Snoopy is cast as all the animals in the play, sheep, cow… penguin. That’s before teasing Lucy and finally giving her a doggie kiss. Lucy loses it, screaming for a disinfectant or iodine. There are a couple shepherds, including Linus who refuses to get rid of that stupid blanket, per Lucy’s demand, using it as a shepherd’s headscarf to protect himself from Lucy’s five reason knuckle wrath. “You wouldn’t hit an innocent shepherd, would you?”
Anyway, if Lucy were to hand you out a part in the Christmas story, what part would you be? What part would you want?
Maybe you’re Mary, the leading woman of the story. She is a complex character with so many emotions running in her throughout the story. From why me, O God? To how can I do this, O God? From “yes, I accept your call to birth a king, O God? To her prayer, her song about God which is a highlight of the story.
“Mighty One… holy is thy name, and thy mercy is for generations and generations to those who fear and revere thee. Thou has worked power with thy arm, thou has scattered those who are arrogant in the thoughts of their hearts. Thou has pulled dynasts down from thrones and exalted the humble. Thou has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.”
Here’s the most essential thing about Mary – she carries God inside her. She carries the anointed one, the Christ, the Messiah, in her very being.
Maybe some of you are very close to God. Maybe you feel a profound connection to God and bear Christ in your words and deeds to the world. If so, Mary is your character, your character to be. She carries God inside her. Yet her greatest gift is that she bears this Christ to the world.
Maybe you’re Joseph. Joseph is being asked a lot of God, too. To be the father yet not the father of this Immanuel, this God-with-us. To face the ridicule of gossipers and naysayers in town. To be given an essential task in assuring that all goes smoothly in the sojourn to Bethlehem, to Egypt, to back to Nazareth.
Maybe you have a lot on you like Joseph. Maybe your life is full of stress, busyness, demands. And maybe despite this, God nonetheless asks you to be first and foremost a leader, a servant in the way of God, leaving behind the worldly stress and demands. Well, Joseph maybe the character you are meant to be.
Maybe you are a shepherd. Maybe you’re simply living your life. Working for a living. Paying the bills, maintaining the house, raising the kids, being a good citizen. Maybe you had bigger dreams but circumstances influenced you to live the meaningful yet selfless life of steadiness and dependability. Yet you are called to something even bigger, something so sacred and transformative it defies description. You are called to discover what the true life is, what the true way is all about. You are called to see Love in the face of the Child lying in the manger, saving the world by his mere presence.
Maybe you are one of the wise men. Yes, they don’t come to the story right away. They arrive in the last quarter of the story when Jesus is 2 years-old. They come to Nazareth, the Holy Family’s hometown after their life as immigrants in Egypt.
Maybe you are not particularly a Christian. Maybe you hold to a different faith, are otherwise content, as well as intelligent, even wise. Yet you are not living your best life, not living out the faith you hold to. And then you follow a light in the darkness. The light brings you the Child. You see his beauty, strength and power, that they derive straight from the heart of God, Love and Truth. How can you not be changed in the wake of such a moment? Your faith, the one you came with, remains but is moved to another level, to the next level where a child shows you the meaning of it all.
There are a couple other characters who are not usually mentioned. You don’t see them in the nativity scenes in your neighborhoods. Their names are Simeon and Ana. They are characters described later in Luke 2. After Jesus is born, the family travels a short 5 miles to Jerusalem. The custom was that when a child was around 5 weeks old they were brought to the Temple in Jerusalem to be presented and acknowledged as one of the flock of the Yahweh faithful. This presentation of baby Jesus at the Jerusalem is described in Luke 2. As they present Jesus at the temple, two of the elderly faithful, a male priest named Simeon and a female prophetess named Ana, greet him. Not only do they greet him, but they acknowledge that this Child is the Chosen One, the One who will change it all, and they take this One into their hearts.
This is how Luke 2:27-32 describes Simeon’s role:
27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying,
29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles
    and for glory to your people Israel.”
Maybe you are Simeon or Ana waiting for the answer to your questions. Maybe you are searching for a life that matches your best hopes and dreams. Maybe in holding the gift of Christmas in your heart, you feel the kind of peace that never lets you go and that allows you to move through the world with that peace that passes all understanding. Maybe that’s why you are here this Christmas Eve.
Or maybe you are a simple villager or a guess at the Inn who hears about a child’s birth around back and you go to see the beautiful newborn who enlightens the world around him.
Whoever you are, for whatever reason, there is one common truth we share. We are here to see the Child. We are here to see the One who is the good news to a weary world.
I close with the climax of that Peanuts version of the Christmas story. For it reminds us, no matter who we are or where we are going, of the One we are meant to look to and be like. 


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