Fri., Dec. 23, 2016
Luke 2:6 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born.
Last Sunday, the kids at one of the churches I serve presented “A Simple Christmas Pageant” for their Kid’s Christmas Program. Usually, one or two little people steal the Kid’s Christmas Program thunder. This year’s edition was no different.
Let me digress. I remember being a part of Kid’s Christmas Programs since I was old enough to be in Sunday School. Memorizing lines, learning Christmas carols and a brown bag of peanuts with an orange and an apple afterwards as a treat were always part of this tradition.
While the mode of the story’s presentation may have changed over the years, the basic story doesn’t change. The Christmas story is the Christmas story. Period. There’s going to be a baby and some straw, Mary in a blue dress, shepherds in bath robes and crooked crowns on the kings.
The previous Wednesday night was rehearsal. Honestly, it was chaotic. The teachers and helpers were past their level of patience by the end of the night. “Pray for the best” was my response.
It’s the day of the program. The day’s high was -4 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s correct. Below zero. Hubbie Rick reminded me that our friends had invited us to join them on a Caribbean cruise. I dutifully declined for us because of the Kid’s Program. Our friends said Rick could go without me. It would not have taken much convincing. Knowing rescheduling the program is a challenge, the show went on.
Over the years, a variety of little people have captured the audience’s heart. This year was no different. Rick said his favorite were the two little black sheep. These boys are 3 and 4. They wore black t-shirts which covered their entire body along with fancy hats decorated as a sheep’s head. If sheep can be bored, they appropriately portrayed their role. When it came time to sing a fun version of “Joy to the Word,” they awoke and put their hearts into it.
Actually, two more sheep were casted. #3 sheep decided before the program began that he DID NOT want to wear a costume. As Mom tried to cajole him, I suggested if he didn’t want to be a sheep, it was OK. He opted to sit with his parents. Until the jazzy version of “Joy to the World.” He literally ran onto the stage. While the rest of the kids hesitantly sang, sheep #3 proudly yelled the letters and made the appropriate letters with his little arms. His little voice boomed compared to the rest of the kids. It brought lots of smiles and laughter.
What happened to sheep #4? Midway the program, this little sheep was quietly taking a long winter’s nap on his mom’s lap.
There were a few other notable moments. Mary gave Joseph baby Jesus (aka baby Emelia) at the right time to be into the manger. Joseph basically dumped Jesus head first into the manger. No worries. Baby Jesus was “asleep in the hay.” The large group of heavenly hosts went right to the stable rather than officially visiting the shepherds first.
There were also touching moments: Mary cradling baby Jesus in her lap; the Innkeeper sharing his lantern with Joseph; everyone singing “Silent Night.”
Whether Mary and Joseph were fully prepared or not, the baby came. Whether or not you are fully prepared for Christmas, I pray you and your family will attend a worship service the next few days. Yep, the story will be the same. Maybe how the story will be told may be a bit different. I pray we will all be amazed when the Savior arrives.
Lord God, it’s a story that’s been told around the world. I pray we never tire of it. Place in our hearts the deep desire to hear and see this story once again this Christmas. Amen.
Friday’s item for Jesus’ birthday box: saltine crackers
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