Advent, day sixteen.
Many of us will be perched on one of these over the next few days, watching children in tea towels and donkey ears parade onto a stage, herded with only partial success by stressed looking teachers and nursery nurses.
I confess, I used to regard them as something to be endured, but now my kids are both well beyond such things and the distance of time shifts my perspective.
We hear so much about ‘the meaning of Christmas’. It seems to mean lots of things; being nice to people, mostly by buying them presents, or feasting and consuming to excess. Now, I am not one of those who thinks that this country has a God given right to call itself ‘Christian’- there is too much darkness in that story after all. However, when we see what we have done with the birthday of Jesus, it is hard not to despair.
Then there is the sitting on small chairs business, the point of today’s poem…
Just another nativity play;
Kids in tea towels and cardboard donkey ears
A tinselled angel picking her nose, and
A manger knocked together by Joseph’s dad
From bits of broken shed.
Jesus may be plastic, but Mary holds him close.
Cameras flash back from stars shaped from foil.
Despite my cloak of cynicism
I feel the approach of tears.
It is all so ordinary-
School chairs that turn us into giants;
The rank mix of stale milk and disinfectant;
The creak and boom of a poorly tuned piano;
That kid whose volume far exceeds his musicality;
We have all been here before.
Perhaps this is the point;
No facebook fanfare
No media circus
Messiah lies in a manger
Made from bits of broken shed