Warning: The following blog post contains references to religion. In general I try to stay off religion and politics, because people tend to feel strongly about these subjects and I am no hand at argument. Also:
Full Disclosure: I am not an especially good practitioner of religion myself (raised Catholic, attend Episcopal church now) (when I go to church) (which isn’t often) (so you see…)
Where was I? Ah yes, the post…
Saturday I got a good dose of the Christmas spirit, courtesy of Herkimer Reformed Church.
Of course I love to go to church programs. Anything involving Christmas, children and music is sure to be fun, and a good blog post. I had a particular reason for attending this one, however, because I needed a person of God.
One of the few things I know how to knit is a prayer shawl. A prayer shawl, in case you didn’t know, is usually given to a person suffering from a physical or mental problem (mental problem meaning something such as grief or depression; not say paranoid schizophrenia). The maker prays while making it and it is blessed when it is finished. I think ideally one has a recipient in mind while making the shawl and so can offer a specific prayer. However, it is also acceptable to make one and see who needs it.
I don’t pray specifically; I try to more maintain a prayerful attitude while I knit. I don’t know how successful I really am at that (see full disclosure above), so I feel it is doubly important that I have someone with credentials bless the shawl when it is finished. I usually have this done at my church, but like I said I have not been there in a while. Additionally, our beloved Father Paul sadly passed away. I heard a new pastor has been chosen but does not start till January. I wanted this shawl blessed Saturday.
When I head that there was to be a Live Nativity at Herkimer Reformed Church, I thought this would be a good opportunity to find a priest (or do I mean minister? Reverend? Person of the Lord).
I put the shawl in a bag and Tabby on her leash. I felt sure there could be no objection to a cute little dog at an outdoor program. There might even be other animals there. Anyways, Tabby loves church. I know she loves the Herkimer Reformed Church, because we often walk by it and she delights in sniffing at the fence. It is located at the Historic Four Corners, a favorite spot of Tabby’s and mine.
It had been raining on and off all day. I thought it reasonable to hope the rain would taper off during the program. We found a place to park next to the Herkimer County Historical Society and crossed the street to where people gathered in front of the church.
The program had already started, but we had not missed much. A few people had sensibly brought umbrellas. I don’t think I need to tell regular readers that I was not one of them. Two men petted Tabby, so she was already happy we came.
The story was coming out of speakers near the church. After a while I saw the narrator standing nearby with a microphone and an umbrella. There were no live animals. The little kids were the sheep. Teenagers portrayed the shepherds, Mary and Joseph, and one of the angels. Adults played the Archangel Gabriel and the Three Wise Men. I saw a shepherd help one of the sheep put her sheep hat back on. I love live theatre with kids.
As the show progressed, the rain increased. The players huddled under the stable roof when they were able to. Audience members with umbrellas huddled under those. The rest of us just got wet. Tabby behaved herself very well. She seemed to want to go up where the players were, but she did not insist. She probably thought they would like to pet her. Or maybe she saw the open church door and figured it would be warm and dry in there.
The story was interspersed with music. The songs were recorded and some of the players sang along. At the end they played a medley almost everybody sang with, even the audience (yes, me, too). The Wise Men and the sheep started dancing, so I danced too. Tabby did not dance with me, which was disappointing for me, but she was quite soaked by that time so she probably did not feel like it.
I remembered my mission and approached the narrator.
“Excuse me, are you the priest?”
“No, that’s Pastor Mark.” The man pointed at one of the men who had petted Tabby.
I explained my situation to the pastor. He said a lovely prayer over the shawl. I told him how much I enjoyed the beautiful nativity. He said he was just sorry it hadn’t stopped raining.
That would have been nice. On the other hand, it was wonderful how the participants and audience stood in the rain, enjoying the true meaning of Christmas. When I left, the music was still playing and the sheep and Wise Men were still dancing. Merry Christmas, everybody!