The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAWhen my children were growing up, they performed in many Christmas pageants. They are always such a special part in the calendar of the church. I remember one year when Breanna and Christopher were a part of the cast of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the classic story by Barbara Robinson about the Herdmans. The book’s description says that the Heardmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.

None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.

pageant2Well, we had our annual Christmas pageant yesterday. It wasn’t the story The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, (our church kids preformed A Rockin’ Royal Christmas) but it was one of my favorite of all time. After Friday’s horrific events in Connecticut, I treasured watching the children of Woodbury Community Church perform just a little bit more. Their voices seemed sweeter. Their antics were cuter. And, the story of the hope that comes because of the birth of Jesus was  even more poignant.

PageantDo you have a favorite Christmas pageant memory? I’d love to hear about it.

I’m so proud of the kids of Woodbury Community Church. They did a great job presenting the story of Christmas.

Here is a clip from the show:

Video streaming by Ustream

When Hope Disappeared

disciples
The Saturday of Holy Week always makes me think of what it must have been like for  the disciples to have lost all hope. Many times I’ve thought of this day as the Day When Hope Disappeared. Disciples were scattered in clusters. One was dead –  a betrayer with such guilt that he hung himself. Some were alone, hiding in fear. Some were together.Was the last 3 1/2 years just an empty adventure? Was it possible that their eyes had deceived them? Was it
possible that Jesus was not who He said that He was? Why hadn’t they stayed true? Why hadn’t they fought for Him? What had He done that merited death on a cross? What would become of them?Sunday morning was coming . . . but they didn’t know what Sunday would bring.What are your questions today? What are your doubts?

It may be the day when your hope is gone, but HOPE is not dead. HE is alive! And Sunday? It’s coming!

Where Is Your Hope Found?

youngIn December of 2009, the Minneapolis Star Tribune named Owatonna’s, Adam Young their Artist of the Year. Why? Because, Young had accomplished something that had not been accomplished by any other musician from Minnesota since Bob Dylan. His song “Fireflies,” made it to number one on the Billboard Charts. He was called “The Wonder Boy of Owatonna,” and Young had the world at his fingertips.

For those unfamiliar with Young’s work, he is essentially the one-man music machine known as Owl City. When he tours on the road, he brings an entire band with him, but his studio albums consist mainly of his voice and the incredible genius of his synthesizer talent.

I find Adam Young to be incredibly refreshing. He is unashamedly a follower of Jesus Christ. His music carries a positive message, but isn’t overtly “Christian.” I’m told that he is rather shy but enjoys the opportunity that his platform has given him to represent Christ.

One of the most refreshing signs of Young’s commitment to the Lord is a song that he put on his blog on the Owl City website. I first heard the song in October, and regularly go back to the website to listen to it. The song is In Christ Alone, by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. Keith Getty, his wife Kristyn, and their friend Stuart Townend write some of the most theologically profound songs in modern Christian music. There is no mincing of words in the song In Christ Alone. Here are the lyrics:

In Christ alone, my hope is found


He is my light, my strength, my song


This cornerstone, this solid ground


Firm through the fiercest drought and storm


What heights of love, what depths of peace


When fears are stilled, when strivings cease


My comforter, my all-in-all


Here in the love of Christ I stand

There in the ground His body lay


Light of the world by darkness slain


Then bursting forth in glorious day


Up from the grave He rose again!

And as He stands in victory


Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me

For I am His and He is mine


Bought with the precious blood of Christ

No guilt in life, no fear in death

This is the power of Christ in me


From life’s first cry to final breath


Jesus commands my destiny


No power of hell, no scheme of man

Can ever pluck me from His hand

Till He returns or calls me home


Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand

I want to encourage you to visit Adam Young’s blog and listen to this song. I think you’ll be moved. It is the most powerful rendition of the song that I’ve ever heard. You can click here to visit the site.

Adam has taken some hits from his fan base for his commitment to Jesus Christ. I’m proud of him for the stance that he takes. If you think about it, pray for Christian artists like Adam. It’s never easy to be in the spotlight. Pray that God will continue to use Adam to reach a generation of people for Jesus.