We interrupt this despair for a goofy, wonderful patriotic moment

“It is a very strange time in America,” Jimmy Kimmel said last night. “It is a time when our president is building walls and telling people to go back where they came from.

“With all that happening, it’s important to remember that many people still dream of becoming Americans. Every week, immigrants from countries all around the world take the oath of citizenship. Ceremonies are held in libraries, classrooms, and courthouses, which is fine, but I think becoming an American should be more exciting than a trip to the DMV.

“So we’ve invited a group of real, new Americans to come to this show for a big welcome to this country.”

And then he presented an over-the-top “Welcome to America” segment that might just remind you of the things we still love about America.

Hey! Unto you a child is born!

I was so overwhelmed this year, I forgot to run this. Apologies…

But as far as I’m concerned, Mary is always going to look a lot like Imogene Herdman – sort of nervous and bewildered, but ready to clobber anyone who laid a hand on her baby. And the Wise Men are always going to be Leroy and his brothers, bearing ham. When we came out of the church that night it was cold and clear, with crunchy snow underfoot and bright, bright stars overhead. And I thought about the Angel of the Lord – Gladys, with her skinny legs and her dirty sneakers sticking out from under her robe, yelling at all of us everywhere: ‘Hey! Unto you a child is born!’

“The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” – Barbara Robinson

Here is how this book begins: “The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s old broken-down toolhouse.” These truly nasty kids bully their way into the lead roles in a church Christmas pageant to get free hot chocolate and cookies, but by the end of the book, their unexpected Christmas spirit has us in tears.

What can I say? I’m such a sucker for a redemption story. Whether it’s Scrooge, the Herdmans, George Bailey, the Grinch, little Susan Walker – or me, I just can’t resist the story of someone who once was blind, but now they see.

This is what I wish for all of you this Christmas: To see, to fly above the despair. To understand why Christmas resonates throughout the world, even in places where they don’t especially care (or even believe) that Jesus was born in a stable.
Continue reading “Hey! Unto you a child is born!”