We had a flock of fun today at the Carrville Methodist Church’s Nativity Play. Joshua had a narration part, and Megan was a shepherd. It was fun to see them participate in such a great little play. Kids are kids, no matter where you go. That means there were cute kids playing all sorts of roles. One of my favourite moments was when one of the younger shepherds hit his sheep with his crook and threw him into the manger on top of Baby Jesus. Mary quickly rebuked him and consoled the (plastic) baby.
The Christmas Story–that of a Saviour born in humble surroundings–is particularly poignant when told by children. Many women in first century Palestine would have been engaged/married in their early teens. It is possible that Mary was 13 or 14 when she bore the Christ child. Jesus told the disciples that the Kingdom of God belongs to those who have the heart of a child. He was telling us to look at the world through eyes that are full of wonder and awe at the things God is doing. As I type this Meg told me, “The best thing about Christmas is the time before it: the decorations, the music, the celebrations.” She’s right. It is the anticipation, the joyful expectancy, the hope that God will bring about a new thing that brings meaning to Christmas. It is the announcement that war can be over: the Prince of Peace is born, that we need not wander in darkness anymore: the Light of the World has come, that death no longer holds us in fear: Eternal Life is lying embodied in tiny fingers and toes in a baby boy.
Maybe it is time that we take another look at the Christmas story. Let’s look at it through the eyes of a child with awe and wonder. Let’s hear the story of how God has come to his people in the most unexpected of ways, in the most unexpected place, and by the most unexpected people. That means that the Baby in Bethlehem has come to all of us. That means that the Christmas Story can be a story of new beginnings for all of us–young and old alike.
Yesterday, as I was running a thousand errands, I was lamenting the fact that once again I’ve gotten caught up in the material parts of Christmas. I was afraid that the whole season would once again be over before I stopped to realize why we even celebrate. As usual, I’m a little bitter about the fact that those Wisemen brought gifts to start with. Wish they had just sent cards. I could address those while sitting on a beach in July! Your pictures and commentary on the unruly sheep and looking at Christmas in a simpler way have really lifted me! I feel more focused now on the love that is all around me! When our family on Gary’s side was much younger, I wrote the nativity scene in play form with parts for all. We had five preschoolers as the main characters, a dog with a hump tied on his back as a camel, similar sheep but Gary’s brothers as shepherds were the unruly ones, and Gary’s dad and mom narrating on a flannel board! You’re right! That was Christmas! Thanks for including us in this moment. Merry Christmas and Love to all!!
Thanks so much Curry. We are enjoying the homemade, simpler Christmas this year. We have been giving the ornaments as gifts to our friends here. We will be doing a bit of baking and sharing that too. Thank you for keeping in touch and being such a blessing to us.
I enjoyed reading the blog about the sheep, also. Wishing y’all a really merry Christmas from L.A.–Barry
Thanks, Barry. Stay warm there in the Sunny South!
Have a very Merry Christmas from the UK!