Sunday, December 23, 2012


Beth and I dined at Don Pablo’s last night, along with some other guests my nephew had invited to attend a special Christmas presentation at his church. Mark is fifty. About ten years ago he and his family left their former assembly, one the young teenage daughter had know her whole life. She had visited this one with a friend, returned to ask her parents to go “just once”, and the three caught a vision of “being part of the kingdom” never previously entertained. I use that last word not in jest, the girl now in her twenties and about to enter into missionary work abroad. This new congregation, to which they not only attached themselves, but also deeply invested themselves as well, is not your usual Sunday worship center. Originally birthed in an abandoned Home Depot, Crossroads now holds a couple of sanctuaries, both resembling a movie theater and the larger of the two possessing a pair of balconies, one above the other. The foyer is vast enough to contain a half dozen coffee islands plus a number of various stations where, last night at least, one could purchase cookies or kettle popcorn. We sat in that first upper level, center stage; and, for about an hour, witnessed the birth of Christ from a new perspective. The message was not changed, in any form or fashion; but the performance, itself, was worthy of any Broadway show, members of the cast surely including a number of professional musicians and dancers. A huge screen behind all the action continually displayed video that enhanced the theme, the individual scenes being brought forth in front of it not your usual “Joseph and Mary dressed in robes and kneeling by the babe in the manger”. This was meant to speak to this generation, to those willing to “bend a bit” concerning a mental image of the occasion formerly held. Characters were costumed to enhance the story, not to reflect the culture as it was. I loved the shepherd, who marched in single file to a rhythm maintained by the pounding of their “staffs” upon the floor, their attire making them look more like “warrior workers” rather than “countrified herdsmen”. A woman dressed in sheer veils of black-purple, joined by a host of small children in similar garments, all holding lanterns to illuminate the darkness, sang a version of “Silent Night” that touched my soul. Indeed, at the end, when the entire group, along with “angels on high”, brought forth “O Come Let Us Adore Him”, this old man was in tears and tongues. Different? It was, in truth, different. It didn’t betray the Gospel’s claim of a virgin birth, however, proclaiming loud and clear “divinity incarnate”. I have no problem with worshipping that statement when and wherever I find it……


  1. It's wonderful when that feeling transcends and quiets frenetic thoughts and touches the very heart of who we are.

    Hope you and Beth had a wonderful Christmas, Jim.


    1. You put that very well, maam, the genre and the location it comes from not mattering so much to me just as long as the Gopsel message, itself, isn't compromised.