“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see — I bring you good news of great joy for all the people.”
– Luke 2:10
Last Thursday when I picked Braeleigh up from school, she was excited to tell me how she was going to get to be Mary in the school Christmas pageant. She was gushing about it. I was excited for her. She told me about how she was going to get to hold baby Jesus. It melted my heart to hear that excitement. But then I got to thinking… and I remembered that there are 27 students in her class, and most of them are girls. And then I remembered that the whole school — all of the preschool classes — take part in the pageant. And I began to wonder if, perhaps, Braeleigh hadn’t actually heard what she thought she heard.
So I emailed her teacher and asked. I know how kids can sometimes misconstrue the things adults say. If Braeleigh had gotten her messages mixed, I wanted to be able to manage her expectations. Sure enough, an email came back telling me that parts weren’t actually being assigned until Monday, but Braeleigh would probably play an angel this year. And so I set to work trying to manage her expectations.
Without a doubt, Mary is an important role. In the context of the birth narrative and in history, she is absolutely pivotal. But I am pretty sure that for my four year old, her excitement was more about being the one who got to hold the dolly during the performance.
That night, I told her a few stories of how awesome the angels in the bible are. About how they get to be the voice of God a lot of times. And especially how the angels at Christmas, those that appeared to the shepherds, were the very first beings to proclaim the good news of God’s love for all people. I told her how proclaiming the good news of God’s love for all people is the same thing her mommy and daddy do. And then I ham-handedly asked, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if you got to be an angel in the pageant?” Without missing a beat Braeleigh replied, “Yeah, that’d be good. But I’m going to be Mary.” 😢
Life is like that isn’t it? We all have a role to play, but often times we look and see the other roles out there, and we wish that we had a different part to play. Maybe we see what other churches are doing, and we wonder why that isn’t us. The truth is, we all have a role to play. Sometimes that role is obviously important and fully center stage. Other times the role we play is in the background. What matters most is that we recognize is that every role God gives to each of us is important and vital to building God’s Kingdom. Every role supports the others and helps make God’s love visible in the world. And no matter what role you may get called upon to play, we are all called to be God’s angels, proclaiming the good news of God’s love for all people.
Looking to sprout wings,
Originally published at revmikeumc.wordpress.com on December 10, 2018.