Have You Ever Tried to Explain Christmas?

Trying to explain Christ is what the Creche’ is really about. Ok, animals right in the middle of the city are fun in and of themselves. (You should have seen Mindy walking the goats today on Oliver’s leash!). But Francis of Assisi devised the Creche’ as an object lesson to teach people the story of Christmas… to get them imagining its meaning for their lives.

Old First means to be teaching the faith too. From our Covenant Ministry, we’ve brought forward a vocational sense that church today must figure out how to share the love of God farther. We mean to develop ways to speak to people who cannot even imagine what we might be talking about or what faith offers.

As well as the Creche, this Christmas, we’re going to try and use the iron fence surrounding our property. Over these last years, it has become almost like a billboard for projecting our message more clearly to the wider world. Or at least to the pedestrians– tourists and local residents — who pass by the corner of Fourth and Race.

So this season, when we have so many guests stopping by to see the animals, we’re going to run a series of messages about the meaning of Christmas. Maybe we can help people begin thinking in new ways about the holy day and the season that surrounds it. Perhaps we can get passersbys to wonder how the church can help them with their faith, lives and questions.

We will be hanging 33 signs that share a wide array of perspectives on Christmas. They will include a wide array of thinkers, writers and public personalities, mostly Christian, but not all. Look for contributions from Howard Thurman, Henri Nouwen, Oscar Romero, Bonhoeffer, Augustine of Hippo… Dickens, E.M. Forster, Benjamin Franklin… There are women’s contributions too.

They should be up by this Sunday — in time for Picture Day at the Creche. Next time you are a church, you might want to walk the perimeter of the property and see what the messages say to you, and if they help you experience or share something new about our faith.

You’ll see messages like:

“In most of the churches I’ve attended as an adult, Christmas is dressed up as a children’s holiday… It does not begin to do justice to the message of God become human.” –Krista Tippett

“Oh look, yet another Christmas TV special! How touching to have the meaning of Christmas brought to us by cola, fast food, and beer…. Who’d have ever guessed that product consumption, popular entertainment, and spirituality would mix so harmoniously? –Bill Watterson

“There is nothing so secular that it cannot be sacred. That is one of the deepest messages of the Incarnation.”
— Madeleine L’Engle

“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “What if Christmas, he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas… perhaps… means a little more.” –Dr. Seuss

“When God is going to do something wonderful, He or She always starts with a hardship; when God is going to do something amazing, He or She starts with an impossibility.”  ― Anne Lamott

And hopefully we’ll warrant the attention of many beyond our community too…