• Will Spink
    Senior Pastor
  • Rita Clardy
    Executive Assistant
  • Ron Clegg
    Assistant Pastor, Discipleship
  • Peter Render
    Assistant Pastor, Youth/Families
  • Winnie Winford
    High-Life Assistant Director
  • Kim Delchamps
    Administrative Assistant
    High-Life/Children
  • Niña Banta Cash
    Director of Children's Ministry
  • Sarah Niemitz
    Director of Community Development/Assimilation
  • Janice Crowson
    Director of Facilities/Office
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The Most FaLaLabulous Christmas Show of All!


Ok… We are approaching a milestone here at Southwood.  This year, 2016 (in case you were confused), will mark the 5th annual commencement of the Fa La Lodge shenanigans, tomfoolery, and ballyhoo.  That’s a big deal!  See, when you do something 5 years in a row, it becomes a thing.  So after this year we’ll be able to say things like, “traditionally at Fa La Lodge…” or “historically at Christmas, Southwood has Fa La ...” You get the idea.  In order to commemorate this momentous occasion, we explored quite a few different celebratory options.  There were some good ideas and some bad ones.  And there were some ideas that never saw the light of day. 

For example, we thought we might construct a 50-foot papier mâché snowman, consisting of 5 body segments, and put it on the grassy knoll.  It could be like a giant sun dial, or “snow dial.”  At the end of that discussion it was decided that the big snowman would be more “buck” and less “bang.”  No one would understand the message we were trying to convey, and more than likely, little children would cry because the snowman was creepy!  We also considered issuing a “five-timer’s club” velvet smoking jacket to the first 50 people who get tickets.  They would have gold-plated piping and five pockets… two on either side and a hidden one on the inside.  This proved to be slightly less than cost-effective, if you know what I mean.  The worst idea though, was a 5-year membership to the Jelly of the Month Club to the first 50 ticket holders.  It sounded like a good idea at first, but we found out that they start to repeat jellies after the 3rd year.  We don’t like repeating jellies.  The taste buds are sent empty away.  So clearly this wouldn’t have worked either. 

So what to do?  This is the biggest occasion since someone somewhere decided a long time ago to sew a pocket onto a T-shirt.  It’s revolutionary.  This year will be another great year for our silly show.  The only difference is that we’ll be adding an extra night.  We will be having our “traditional” Sunday night shows at 5:30 & 7:30 on Sunday December 18, and this year we’ll be adding a Saturday night show at 6:30 on Saturday, December 17!  Let that marinate in your head for a minute…  It’s ok… I’ll wait… 

What this means is if N = last year’s Fa La Lodge, then Fa La Lodge 2016 = N x 1.5!  And just in case math is to you as football is to me, let me break it down for you this way.  This year you have three opportunities instead of just two to see us make fools of ourselves!  This year you have 50% more seats to invite your friends to fill. Right about now, you should be nodding your head saying, “SWEET!” with a big ridiculous grin pasted across your face.  This is, in fact, the appropriate response to such wonderful news. 

Now, for those of you who have never Fa La’d with us at the Lodge, let me offer you an apology in advance.  By “apology” I don’t mean we are going to say we’re sorry for being silly.  But I do mean that I here now offer an apologetic for being silly at Christmas.

When the angels came to the shepherds who were watching their flocks by night, they said, “behold, I bring you good tidings of great JOY that is for all people.” Joy… that’s a word we hear an awful lot in Christian circles, especially at christmas time. Joy, rejoice, joyful, glad tidings… The Christmas story, even in it’s most commercial and watered-down iterations, is wrought with exhortations toward joy and gladness.  The story of Jesus brings to mind good gifts that are given in the spirit of the ultimate Gift he gave us on the cross.  And the poetry of his humble birth in a feeding trough, to a suspected adulteress, who was betrothed to a carpenter, is such an incredible, impossible, “edge of a knife” sort of tale, how could we not respond with joy?  Especially since we know the end of the story as well.  This story of an infant king born in lowly stable does not end in tragedy.  It doesn’t end like Romeo and Juliet, it ends like A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  Instead of a death, there will be a wedding and a dance.  Who could deny joy at this thought?  It should well up inside us like a tidal wave! 

So joy we’ve established.  Now, what does joy look like?  It definitely does not conjure up the image of Mr. Scrooge.  That famous character of Dickens would actually be described as “joyless” at the beginning of the play.  But by the end, he’s full of joy.  So what changed in his demeanor?  Here is an excerpt from the last scene of A Christmas Carol.  I think you’ll see what transpired…

SCROOGE: ... The child who was born in Bethlehem will rule in my heart every day! Oh, tell me I may sponge away the writing on this stone! ... I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a schoolboy. I am as giddy as a drunken man. A Merry Christmas to everybody! A Happy New Year to all the world! Hallo here! Whoop! Hallo! There’s the door, by which the Ghost of Jacob Marley entered! There’s the corner where the Ghost of Christmas Present stood! It’s all right, it’s all true, it all happened. (He laughs)...

Scrooge gets abruptly shaken by the reality of his own selfishness AND the immense joy of the true story of christmas… the true narrative with which all humans long to be connected…  “the child who was born in Bethlehem…”

In this scene, joy looks like “merry as a schoolboy,” “light as a feather,” and “giddy as a drunken man!”  It sounds almost vulgar.  And at the end, he laughs. I could not imagine any picture of joyfulness or gladness that didn’t include laughter!  It seems that laughing is not as trite as many of us may think.

So at Southwood we love to be together, and we love to laugh.  And even the ridiculous things we laugh about carry with them a weight of divinity.  When we take time to enjoy one another and just enjoy being “light as a feather” and “giddy as a drunken man,” it enhances our understanding of Immanuel, God with us… The infant in the manger brought joy, and so we laugh!  We laugh because we know a wedding feast is coming and the trials and tribulations we endure in life are nothing but silliness in the long run.  And I for one would rather err on the side of a bit too much silliness than not enough—or worse, none at all! 

Please join us for one of your three opportunities to be together with your friends and experience joy on so many levels.  Fa La Lodge V awaits!