24 December 2018
The East Linton Primary School Assembly was a sell-out once again. The gallery was full of parents, grandparents and friends of the children who filled all the seats downstairs. The children read the Christmas Gospel and sang some carols. The choir and the Infant classes sang and several children played their musical instruments.
I spoke to the children about the good and bad news in Christmas. ‘Here’s the good news – Santa’s been but the bad news is his sleigh crashed into the front door and smashed it to smithereens!’ The children burst into fits of laughter. ‘Here’s the good news – we’re having turkey and all the trimmings but the bad news is that the dishwasher has broken and the children have got to do all the washing up!’ More laughter!
When I began to unpack the Nativity Story with, ‘Here’s the good news – an angel came to tell Mary that she was going to be the mother of Jesus but the bad news is that she didn’t have a husband yet!’ The laughter continued right through until we got to the end, ‘Here’s the good news – Mary, Joseph and the baby made their escape from Herod but the bad news is that they were forced to become refugees in a foreign land!’
There’s nothing finer than the laughter of children nor is there a sweeter sound than children finding joy in the upside down world of the Christmas Gospel. When I got to the end of my address, the laughter stopped. For in the good news of the baby born in Bethlehem, there is the bad news of his homelessness and status as a refugee.
This is the real world of our Christmas where fourteen million people in the Yemen stand on the brink of starvation! The Good News is that we can do something about it but the bad news is that sometimes we forget that God’s love came down at Christmas and that’s why we celebrate today!