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January 2020

Two Christmas Eve Services Bring Gospel of the Birth of Jesus to Village

By Stephen E. Lipken

 

Two emotional and inspiring Christmas pageants depicting the birth of Jesus Christ were performed by Christ Church Bronxville, “The Nativity of our Lord” and “A Service of Lessons, Carols and Candles” at The Reformed Church of Bronxville on Christmas Eve, December 24th.

 

Christ Church Bronxville Reverend Michael A. Bird, Rector welcomed the community to, “the celebration of Christmas told by our children. You have this magic set of papers with the words and notes of all of the songs that we will sing tonight.”

 

After the opening hymn, Adeste Fideles, songs were performed depicting the Prophesy of Isaiah, Come thou long-expected Jesus; Annunciation, O Little Town of Bethlehem; Arrival in Bethlehem, Away in a Manger; The Shepherds, Angels We Have Heard on High and The Creche is Complete, The First Nowell.

 

Both ministers emphasized that God manifested Himself in human form, humbling Himself to bring a message of salvation and redemption to humanity. Reverend Bird talked about his kids mentioning “Baby Yoda,” a new Disney character. “Baby Yoda was designed to make us love him with his huge eyes, sweet little smile, 100% irresistible.

 

“The whole point about Baby Yoda is that he is vulnerable. The story we are telling tonight is that our gracious, loving omnipotent God who brought the entire world into being chose to be most vulnerable to us.  He was born with outstretched arms, because God knows that we cannot resist picking up a child and holding him.

 

“On this night we remember that God came into this world, even more irresistible than Baby Yoda so that we may reach in, pick him up, hold him close and change our lives to change the world, loving you and your incredible response to that loving gift.”

Shortly before concluding Holy Communion, Izaak Thomas rendered Quia Fecit from J.S. Bach’s Magnificat (Mary magnifies the Lord).

 

At 5:30 p.m., pageantry began on the lawn of Reformed Church of Bronxville with a live Creche scene, complete with shepherds, trumpeting angels with a live sheep and donkey, accompanied by a brass ensemble.

 

Inside, readings began with Matthew 1:18-25, beginning with the genealogy leading to the Annunciation and birth of Jesus, read by Jack Newton.

 

Reformed Church of Bronxville Reverend Dr. Matthew Waterstone discussed Jesus’ earthly father, Joseph.  “In light of the Virgin Birth, what did Joseph do?  He just showed up. Joseph has no lines.  Showing up leads to a powerful silence. He was given the task by the Angel Gabriel that might have cost him his social status and economic well-being.

 

“Ninety percent of being a good dad is just showing up.  Joseph reminds us that by showing up, we obey.   It is difficult to oversell the obedience of Joseph.   How obedient have we been?

 

If you want to be first, be last.  If you want to be strong, be weak.  The example of Joseph is be present and silent before a loving God.”