A Christmas Pageant for a Broken World
Last night I stood in the wings, the kind created in a living room with a sheet held up by a cord as curtains delineating where the stage ended and the audience began. I watched kids in costumes with halos and crowns and robes and ropes play out the story of all time. I looked at Gabi’s face, as she mustered up courage to sit and speak in front of a room full of grown-ups she mostly didn’t know, moving up this year from the chorus of angels her sisters and cousins still stood in to the place of honor as Mary. And I thought she is only a few years younger than her character was when she became a mother. And the timeless story gave me chills right there, even though I know the outcome, the miracle always makes me stop and consider that it really happened this way, God entering the world in bones and hair.
And there in those wings, Derek held up his phone, the same one he was using to take video, and he showed me the headline that had just come across. Claire had died. Claire, as we parents in Denver have all come to know her, the girl standing in her school a week ago, shot by a schoolmate who then took his own life. Claire, who we’d prayed for over and over again. In church, through Facebook posts, emails and blogs. A community of prayer lifted this soul to heaven where last night she finally stepped.
Later I lay in my littlest angel’s bed with her as she fell asleep. I wondered if Claire’s mother ever considered today would happen. I pictured the teenage girl with the long hair standing next to her horse and imagined her with pudgy two-year old legs and fingers and her mother tucking her into bed. It’s not what we dream for our children, tragedy. And I prayed a prayer that is more common than I’d like it to be, “Lord help me when tragedy strikes my child. And Lord protect her….please.” These are the questions of not understanding. Why one child killed and so many others spared? A world that is turned upside down. That is simply broken.
And there in the pageant living room, the final scene when Jesus the star of the story makes his appearance (or in last night’s case her appearance). Gabi holding her baby cousin who starts to cry. And I see in Gabi’s face she is not sure what she should do about the crying in front of all of these people, but she is trying to be brave. Oh so like that barely a teenager mother of two thousand years ago. So unsure of what to do when a crying baby was handed to her. And trying to be brave.
My children acting out this story that is timeless. We tell it to each other every year. Because we still need a savior. This last week of Advent that celebrates the coming of the promised Messiah. We are waiting again. Ready for the One to save us all.