a view from under the pew: the mystery and miracle of christmas

Gary Mitchell: Religion columnist

amos the churchmouse:
a view from under the pew
Editor’s note: When Amos went shopping recently for a tiny little red flashing light to decorate the Christmas tree sprig he had propped against his cozy matchbox home, he encountered the trials and tribulations of last-minute Christmas shoppers. In frustration, he called out for the real meaning of Christmas. About that time, Sammy Salamander wiggled by and pointed him to a little abandoned nativity scene far from the malling crowd but in the heart of Bugtussle. Jenny (the little girl mouse next door) was playing the role of Mary; Willifred the White Rat was Joseph; Freddy Flea was baby Jesus; Virgil the Praying Mantis was a shepherd; Robin Redjoy, Oliver Owl and Rawley Eagle were the wise men; and Louie the Songdog was a cow.

the mystery and miracle of christmas

sammy just looked at me and
smiled that all-knowing
salamander smile and said
you wanted to know about
christmas – you re standing
at the very heart of its
mystery and miracle right now

the birth of god s very own
son said louie most reverently

but how can that be said me
after all it s plain to see
that baby belongs to she and he

ah that s the mystery of it all
said rawley looking bigger than
tall you see jesus is god s word
in the flesh

the son of god became the son of
man robin redjoy sang

divinity took the form of
humanity virgil said prayerfully

he became what we are so that
we might become what he is
oliver owl fairly screeched

all right all right said i
with a frown i m not
deaf – but i may be now -
so then the mystery of christmas

is the mystery of god becoming
man louie finished with a flair

the mystery of jesus the godman
sammy echoed in the night air
as loud as a salamander dare

the mystery of his being fully
god yet fully man said oliver
owl with a certain amount of
dignification that mystery we
call the incarnation

but what about the miracle
says i somewhat skeptically you
said there was a miracle with
the mystery

so we did and so there is
rawley replied you see alongside
each of god s mysteries comes
one of his miracles

so what miracle are you
talking about i said almost
with a shout

the miracle of christmas
my friend is the virgin birth
he said with a gentle grin

virgin birth i said with a
certain incredulity how can that
be is this really necessary for
me to believe why did it have
to be this way

from the manger scene came
jenny s voice ever so quietly
you see to enter the world
god chose the weakness
of a woman a picture of
submission and humility

and by so doing virgil added
he eliminated proud
mighty man from any
part of the plan

let me see if i have this right
said i groping through the light
god the creator came to his
creation not in power or might
but in the weakness of woman
and the helplessness of a baby
to risk himself in love for all
of us – to love the unlovely and
to die for the ungodly so that
we the unlovely and the ungodly
might live and love forever

boss that simple tableau speaks
volumes – it s a mystery and it s
absolutely miraculous
may you have a merry christmas
and a happy forever
amos