I had a mission this Christmas – to try and find an outdoor Nativity where it was safe to take our grandchildren during this CoVid season. I scoured Google in search of a place where the Nativity story might be told, and within our area. None could be found. However, they may have been out there, but my limited detective skills didn’t come up with any. It was at that point that I received what I thought was a God nudge. “This is the story that needs to be told – the birth of Jesus. Re-enact the story on your own.”
It reminded me of a memory I had of my own girls who used to put on plays in our tiny basement many years ago. So, I gathered up props that I could find around the house: candlesticks (gold, frankincense & myrrh), children’s bible, silk, towels, manger (which my husband had built 3 years ago), wings (which my granddaughter was only too happy to supply) and a boy doll (baby Jesus). After all, this Christmas Eve didn’t offer a church service. This play was going to be our “Church.” After figuring out what roles belonged to which person, the rest can only be described as organized chaos. My grandson (all of 2) preferred to be an onlooker. “Do you want to be a shepherd?”
“How about an angel?”
“No!” And he continued to play with his new tiny construction vehicles.
My grand-daughter, on the other hand, fully embraced her role as Mary and took it very seriously. With her long flowing silk material that I had draped over her head, she brought her little chair beside the manger and was doting over baby Jesus. Amidst my husband trying to read the story, there were many conversations and sub-plots taking place all at the same time, mostly between Mary and Angel Gabriel, who was played by our Son-in-Law (and who managed many other roles). The role of the shepherds was played by my daughter who also kept our audience content and happy. I guess my role was basically stage manager.
My husband kept reading diligently from the children’s version. “God pulled out all the stops. He’d sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He’d put a special star in the sky to show where his boy was, and sent a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world. He sent all those angels to sing for a raggedy old bunch of shepherds. But God must have thought shepherds were very important, because they’re the ones He chose to tell the good news to first.”
Our play was finished. Everyone applauded with exuberance, and Mary took her bows. Did we act out the story in perfect sequence from beginning to end? No! Were all the roles represented? No! Did any of these hiccups matter? No! What mattered was that we told the Christmas story about Jesus from a child’s perspective – innocent and at its purest form. God was with us that night, and we had Church that night.