Friday, December 17, 2010

Thought for the Day
Good Morning Scotland
BBC Radio Scotland
Friday, December 17th

I went to a Nativity Play this week at our local Primary School in Penicuik. The annual school or church Nativity wouldn’t be possible without tea towels and cut up curtains and square paste-on beards made of construction paper.

And don’t forget the angels. When extra children show up in church who haven’t been given a part, they can always be draped in a disused choir gown and have a crown of tinsel placed on their heads. Voila – an instant angel- sent up to the front holding on to an older cousin’s hand apprehensively.

Much of the story involves human beings listening to angels - ordinary human beings caught up in trying circumstances or just minding their own business out in the pastureland but then tumbled into some sort of shape and woven into a story by a voice which comes from up in the sky or wells up from within in a dream.

It’s wrapped up with idea of inspiration, revelation and vocation: three words which have their roots in a religious tradition but which now are used in a wider sense- inspiring political speeches, revelations in a gossip column, the vocation we might have for a particular job or livelihood.

But it is the original, ghostly, version of these words which draw us to the story and give it its power. These Nativities are not only intended to enrich the small participants but the grownup watchers as well - we who have seen too much, or compromised too much of our potential or forgotten to look beyond our duties and our obligations.

What the children are telling us, through this story, is that we can change our ways. And, in the midst of our ordinary human lives and communities, such dreams and revelations, such promises of novelty and rebirth, still have currency in the human heart.

An audio link is available for a limited time HERE. TFTD begins at 1:25.13 - about halfway along the audio bar.

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