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Unexpected Joys

From Rev. Erik Buss, Assistant to the Pastor
December 15, 2020

Every year for the last decade, I’ve had the privilege of being part of the tableaux event to help us celebrate Christmas. Many people say it’s the highlight of their Christmas celebration, especially coming up to see the baby Lord while surrounded by the singing of the shepherds, who act more like the angels singing out our hearts’ desires as we see our Savior come into the world.

We had known for some time that this year was not going to be a regular tableaux year, but it wasn’t until Rachel Martin came up with the idea many of you saw last night that the event took on a special magic that was, for me, the presence of the Lord among us. Giving us a chance to experience the Christmas story as it might have happened was so powerful.

I loved that we saw the shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night without any other light than their fires. I loved that when we asked the Jacksons to bring a few sheep to be part of the event they brought the whole herd, including a mama and her two babies.

By contrast, I loved that the angels were brightly lit, and that we found a big family pod who could be a heavenly host inviting us to see the baby Lord. Kaia Merrell and Naomi Haus-Roth put in lots of time planning and executing the lighting there and throughout the tableaux.

Each time I saw the manger scene, I got choked up, just as I am now as I write this. The old washhouse at Cairncrest was so perfect — a ready-made stable — and both pairs of Mary and Joseph were so tender, like they really had just participated in the greatest miracle of all time.

The wise men scene was so fun because for the first time we were able to have Percy the camel in his proper place next to them as they journeyed to Bethlehem.

Having the risen Lord brightly lit in the woods was so powerful to me, with a platform and altar specially made by Brian Horner. It reminds us of why this story is so powerful. Not only was He born a baby, but He remains with us, visible and present even now.

And then to go to the Cathedral to hear the beautiful singing that so many choir members contributed to, and Graham mixed so expertly, was a crowning joy. When I went up there, I saw a crowd of children gathering around the donkey and sheep so they could touch them. I thought how fitting it was that in an era when we can’t be close to and touch so many we love, the children were able to have contact with at least part of the Christmas story.

All this could not have been possible without Alison Cole’s tireless work and can-do attitude to make it all come together. She and Rachel Martin have been absolute stars, creating such a powerful gift to the community. Thank you all!

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