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Not Embarrassing but Amazing

December 21, 2016 No Comment
Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer

Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer

by Glenn E. Schaeffer

When I was pastor at Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Barrie, Ontario, the children and youth, with the assistance of some adults, presented a Christmas pageant entitled, “This is So Embarrassing!”

The pageant starts with a youth complaining about having to dress in his father’s bathrobe. Another youth grumbles about having to be a Wiseman yet again. Others find it embarrassing that they have to dress in silly costumes—halos, wings, and fuzzy caps with sheep ears. After lamenting their situation, the youthful pageant participants shout, “This is so embarrassing!”

The pageant continues, recounting embarrassing situations that the Old Testament patriarchs and matriarchs found themselves in: Adam and Eve are embarrassed that their disobedience brought God’s condemnation on all creation; Noah’s family is embarrassed that he is constructing a huge boat in the middle of nowhere; aged Sarah is embarrassed that she is having to shop for diapers because she is going to give birth to a child; Moses is embarrassed to find himself in a perilous situation at the Red Sea and he’s supposed to simply lift his arms to part the waters; Jonah is embarrassed that he smells like he has lived in the belly of a fish for three days; and the prophet Isaiah is embarrassed to prophesy that a virgin will give birth to Immanuel. After each situation, the characters exclaim, “This is so embarrassing!”

And then the scene shifts to the eve of Jesus’ birth. Two angels are going over their embarrassing assignment. They are to proclaim the news of the Saviour’s birth to—of all people—lowly, stinky shepherds! And where is Jesus to be born? In “little, backwater Bethlehem.” And, God’s Son isn’t going to be birthed in a king’s palace but in a barn and placed in a cattle trough among sheep, donkeys, and other barnyard animals. The angels are scandalized by God’s plan—a plan that’s been in the planning stages for centuries!

But, as the cast reflects on God’s Word…

“He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end”  (Luke 1:30).

“She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus, because He will save His people from their sins”  (Matthew 1:20).

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’”  (Luke 2:9-12).

…they are led to a different conclusion. Collectively, as some stand and others kneel around the cradle of the Christ Child, they in holy reverence and awe, proclaim, “This is not embarrassing! This is so… amazing!”

The birth of God’s Son, our Saviour, is more than amazing. His birth is wondrous. His birth is God’s love incarnate. His birth is for you and me and for all the people of this world!  St. Paul writes, “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). His birth moves us to sing: “O ye heights of heav’n adore Him; Angel hosts, His praises sing. Pow’rs, dominions, bow before Him And extol our God and King. Let no tongue on earth be silent, every voice in concern ring Evermore and evermore!” (LSB 384:4).

The birth of God’s Son, our Saviour, is more than amazing. His birth is wondrous. His birth is God’s love incarnate. His birth is for you and me and for all the people of this world!

I pray that you will unashamedly worship your Saviour and share this “embarrassing” message with your family and friends this Advent and Christmas season.

Merry Christmas!

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Rev. Dr. Glenn E. Schaeffer is President of the Alberta-British Columbia District of Lutheran Church–Canada.