Sunday, December 5, 2010
Singing of Jesus
We met at the church's parking lot early in the morning. It was cold. The hay bales were strategically placed on the flatbed trailer. The silver foil garland was taped around the edge of the trailer. Speakers were put in the back of the pick up, and given a supply source. Microphones were plugged in and checked.
It was time to go get in the line up for the parade. Off we all went downtown to the staging area. Other parishioners arrived in the staging area. We had lots of children to dress up as angels and shepherds. Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus arrived, and took their spot on the flatbed. Everyone's excitement was rising. On the sides of the truck were banners that read "Blessings to you from Messiah Lutheran". On the front of the truck we had a gift tag that read, "To YOU, from GOD", with the hood and cab decorated to look like a present. On the manger for baby Jesus was another gift tag, saying the same.
Our small army of parishioners were ready to pass out the magnet puzzles to kids, along with the invitation to our living nativity and church services. Some of the choir sat in the truck bed and we practiced while waiting for the go ahead from the parade marshal. In front of pastor were two boys carrying our sign that read Messiah Lutheran, then Pastor walked, then the float, with our army of walkers. We had 50 people total.
This was a first for me. I could not stop smiling and making eye contact with people watching the parade. I could see people that Jesus loves. We were singing songs of reconciliation, all familiar Christmas Carols. To see faces light up with freedom to say "Merry Christmas" back to us between songs; to see that Jesus loves these people was overwhelming. In a city that most Christians say is spiritually dark, I saw how open and needy people are to hear the Gospel. We kept singing, and some would sing with us, most would smile and wave back. Smile, wave, sing of Jesus, was all I could do. It was wonderful.