One of the biggest challenges in the preparation of a Christmas pageant (ours will take place on Dec. 17) involves the selection of a Mary and Joseph. If the congregation is fortunate enough to have an adult couple who have given birth in the months prior to Christmas, they can often be convinced to take on the role of the Holy Family in the pageant. This has the added benefit of their newborn being a much more appropriate representative of the infant Jesus than the plastic doll which is normally called into service.
Most years congregations are not so fortunate and, as a result, we have to imagine the qualities we would want in the actors who play Mary and Joseph. With Mary we usually want someone who can convey a quiet wisdom and the strength of character embodied in her song of faith—the Magnificat. Joseph is sometimes more challenging. Unlike Mary, Elizabeth and Zachariah (characters we’ve encountered in the last two Sundays) Joseph never speaks in the biblical accounts of the nativity. However, in his silence and, prompted by a dream in which an angel appears, he performs an amazing act of courage by going against cultural convention and taking Mary as his wife. In this act he trusts the mystery of a particular act of creation.
This Sunday we’ll explore the story of Joseph. I trust that this will prove to be cathartic for those who have had to struggle in their lives with decisions which are shrouded in mystery. I also hope that Joseph’s story will connect the quiet ones in our midst who do acts of compassion without proclamation. Finally, this story should find resonance with those who have encountered angels in the midst of a dream.
Joseph won’t be alone in worship this Sunday. The Vancouver Bach Children’s Choir will be surrounding his story with angelic voices.
The music of Christmas continues on Sunday afternoon at 2:30 when the Dunbar Ryerson Chamber Choir presents their annual Christmas concert: “Chantez Noёl.”
I do hope that you will be able to join the congregation in worship this Sunday morning and the Chamber Choir in concert this Sunday afternoon.
Follow these links for more information on upcoming events:
For a copy of this Sunday’s announcements bulletin, please click here.