I had the opportunity to see two wonderful plays this weekend. The first was a production my kids were in called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. (I realize I’m a bit biased when I say it was wonderful.) This play was about a group of unruly kids who crashed the annual church Christmas pageant with surprising results. The other play was called Justice for Maurice Henry Carter and was the story of Doug Tjapkes’ battle to free a wrongly convicted man. The first play was acted out by middle school kids. The second by adults. The first play was specific to the season of Christmas. The second took place over the seasons of many years.
Despite the differences, there was one important similarity. They were both stories of transformation. Imogene Herdman (who fought and smoked cigars and helped herself to communion grape juice) was taken in by the story of Christ’s birth. The church folk who saw the Christmas story freshly through her eyes experienced the wonder all over again. Both parties were transformed. Maurice Carter was transformed by the love and commitment of someone very unlike himself. Doug Tjapkes was transformed by the wisdom and friendship of an incarcerated African American. And that is what Christmas is all about – transformation. The Son of God is transformed into a human. Humans like you and me get transformed into children of God.