“We must not have Christ Jesus, the Lord of Life, put any more in the stable amongst the horses and asses, but he must now have the best chamber, the heart, and the rude, debauched spirit must be turned out. Therefore let him reign, whose right it is, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, by which Holy Ghost you call him Lord, in which Holy Ghost you pray, and by which Holy Ghost you have comfort and fellowship with the Son and with the Father. Therefore know the triumph in the Seed, which is first and last, the beginning and ending, the top and cornerstone.” (George Fox, 1657)
Back when Judy and I were at First Friends Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, we turned these words by George Fox into a short Advent play. A real husband and wife and their little baby played the Holy Family. A “stable” occupied one side of the stage, with Mary and Joseph looking after Jesus. On the other side of our simple set was the “best chamber,” occupied by adult Friends personifying the “rude, debauched” spirits of violence, greed, idolatry, and elitism. With an air of authority, our Sunday school children strode up to this unsavory quartet and took them in charge, leading them out of the chamber. Then the children went over to the stable and reverently escorted Jesus and his parents into the chamber.
As we grieve the victims in Newtown, Connecticut, and struggle to reconcile this tragedy with our Christmas-season emphasis on children, I hope that each Friend and meeting and church and family, can find new ways to turn out the rude spirits and give Jesus the best chamber. And may our children learn how they, too, can be part of this serious and joyful task.
Contributed by Johan Maurer