Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Unexpected in "Bethlehem"

On sunday, the 11th, the congregants were more unruly than the 4-year-old sheep as they wanted to wander from the market road in “Bethlehem” and traipse through the market, but the sellers urged, shouted, “sold” on, and even got some contributions!
The star fell from the sky onto the manger which had been relocated for safety purposes when the ram wanted to live up to it’s name and sent me squealing down the hill.  I wonder if there were any charging rams among the shepherds that night and if the angels had to do some dodging.  

Oh, and the angels!  Daso signaled them to come running from all sides of the church yard after Gabriel’s initial announcement, and they came!  With victorious, celebratory cries of delight for the new born king before they broke into a Hausa chorus complete with lively dance.    The “Gloooo---oooo-oooo-ria filled the yard and they declared “Peace!” before returning to heaven once again with jubilant cries. 
As Bethlehem that night was too busy for their king, wrapped up in the social demands of the census rush, the congregants on Sunday dutifully carried out their social demands of greeting each other cheerfully, shaking hands with a heartily spoken series of questions through the majority of the short re-enactment.
The culmination of Mary and Joseph coming to the center of the church yard amidst a mob of children and “visitors to Bethlehem” singing in Hausa and English “Oh come let us adore him” was surprisingly worshipful.   For the first time that morning, everyone was focused and together, around the baby, symbolizing what the church is meant to be! Abrubtly, an upbeat “Emmanuel, Emmanuel, Wonderful Counselor” took us dancing and singing “Emmanuel” in call and response into the sanctuary where the 9 lessons and carols service commenced.
So God’s marvelously exciting story unfolded in our small neighborhood.  The unexpected happened, as did that original night in Bethlehem, for the author of this story is full of the unexpected!

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