Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Empty Manger

You may not see me but I am there
You may not hear me but I am there
You may want to talk to me; know that I am there
For though I am out of sight
I am there

Years ago I was asked to write a Christmas play for Christmas Eve services at church. So I sat down with a pen and turned out a story of a woman named Mary, a woman alone on Christmas Eve.

She is alone as she wanders into the church. She sits alone in the back of the empty church alive with preparation for the Christmas pageant. The minister approaches explaining that the woman playing Mary is ill. “Would you play the part?” (I know, predictable.) Mary takes her place by the empty manger.

A string of visitors pass by each excitedly looking into the manger. Moses sees the prophecy come true, David sees his heir, Mary Magdalene and John see Christ reborn. “But the manger is empty,” she tells them.

This is a season that along with the joy of the holiday spirit comes feelings of sadness as well. The burdens we carry with us seem a bit heavier. Sad memories and losses find their way back once more. A mixture of excitement, reflection, loneliness, loss.

Many passed by the manger each finding something different. One man saw promise, a dream turned into reality. Another saw his sorry self reborn with hope for a future. And two found something that was missing and thought gone forever. Yet the woman behind the manger saw nothing in that empty crib. In the passing faces, she saw healing, belief in something unseen. She tried to reach beyond all that weighed her down trying to find an answer in that manger. As she looked, a light shone upon her face. She realized that what she sought was there all the time. It was waiting for her to accept it. That happens, you know. Once you let go of the reins and believe something better will come, the healing begins and new doors open. It’s called faith.

Of course, in reality (theatre reality) the pageant has not yet begun. This Mary had no idea that she had stepped back in time, a time when people more readily believed in miracles. No longer was the manger empty.

May your holiday season be blessed with peace that shines from within. May love and understanding be yours. May each person in your life become more precious….including you yourself.

Merry Christmas, dear ones. I send you love and thanks for following this woman on her journey.

Empty into the world your song that it may in turn sing to you.

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