From the Ridiculous to the Sublime

29 Dec

Last Christmas, I told you about our rector’s adventures with Baby Jesus on a zip-line. This year, at Midnight Mass, he told us the rest of the story.

Apparently, Fr. Casimir (for want of a better name) always liked to have some sort of pageant for the Christmas service. These events were generally followed by the question, “Did anyone get hurt?”

On the Christmas Eve in question, the congregation was first entertained by a fist-fight in the narthex; the matter under discussion being who was going to play the back end of the camel. As part of the pageant, in addition to the camel, there was an ancient husky dog, who was to play the “schzeep” – the sheep – who had not been walked before he took his place the procession, with the obvious results, so people were having to side-step certain obstacles in the aisle.

After the Baby Jesus had descended from the clouds, with such spectacular results, it was time for the Magi to be led to the manger by a star. Fr. Casimir had attached a HUGE star to a twenty-foot bamboo pole, and asked the smallest child in the parish to “go even unto Bethlehem”.

The pole was both top-heavy and very flexible, and the child was having a extremely difficult time staying under the center of gravity. Stagger to the left, stagger to the right, shimmy this way, try to avoid the chandeliers, and suddenly the star began falling forward. The young man raced to keep up with his burden, stepped when the dog had unburdened himself, and the entire business came crashing down, landing on the karaoke machine (don’t ask!) and shorting out every light in the building.

Fr. Casimer shouted out “Proszę zapalić świeczkę!” (Please light a candle!) which was the cue for the children’s choir to begin processing, candles in hand, singing Panis Angelicus. And so, we went from the ridiculous spectacle surrounding us to the sublime beauty of cherubic voices singing heavenly songs.

And so it is with life. We go from the ridiculousness of everyday life, with its silliness and sorrows, and step into the sublimity of God’s presence. It is our job, now, to bring this sublimity back out into the world, to bring sanity where there is madness, and peace where there is turmoil.

And maybe a bit of joy and jokes along the way.

 

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