I know we're fast approaching the Lenten Season, nevertheless, I'm still holding on to a few reported "Nativity Play" happenings. The first occurred at the Methodist Church in Fitzpatrick, Alabama. This 75-year-old house of worship is tiny, for Fitzpatrick is tiny. The usually small congregation always swells to a capacity crowd when it's time for the Nativity pageant for all children who show up are included in the performance.
I've attended only once, but I'm still cherishing those memories. On that occasion my daughter-in-law played the drums. (I didn't even know she had that talent!) An angel and a shepherd were played by grandchildren. Santa's stand-in, at refreshment time, was my youngest son. My daughter-in-law's mother was the director.
Apparently this year, there was a new twist added to the program and I think they might need to consider permanently adding it to the script. You see, these grandchildren's two-and-a-half-year-old cousin, Christina, (which means anointed Christian) almost stole the show, for she stole the "Baby Jesus Doll!"
She was dressed in an angelic angel costume, standing next to Joseph. I'm told she unsuccessfully tried numerous times to pick up the doll. "Joseph" would calmly, quietly, disallow this maneuver. Soon this interaction escalated to a "tug-of-war" game - Joseph still winning. Finally, Christina had had enough! She grabbed and yanked and ran. She ran down the aisle to her mortified mom with the plastic baby doll in hand. The congregation laughingly rejoiced. I like that girl's spunk! I think at an early age, she's got the right idea! Isaiah said, "a little child shall lead" (Isaiah 11:6) and this she did. Paul said, "Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast." (Hebrews 4:14) and this she did. Christina's daddy's a preacher. I bet he was proud when he heard of his daughter's giving her first "interaction" sermon. Yes, Pilgrim, we are indeed called to "hold on" to our Lord! -- Now, hold that thought.
Another Nativity play "happening" occurred at St. Mary's in Birmingham, Alabama. It was reported to me by my sister. In this instance, it took place in the audience, rather than by one of the performers. My niece and namesake's 1-1/2 year old son, Stephen (which means crown) was told by his mama in a quiet whisper, "That's baby Jesus" as he pointed to the manger. He then turned around and gazed at the huge stain glass window and repeatedly proclaimed boldly, "That's Big Jesus!" The congregation laughingly rejoiced. I like that boy's spunk! I think at an early age, he's got the right idea. Isaiah said, "a little child shall lead" (Isaiah 11:6) and this he did. Paul said, "speak boldly" (Ephesians 6:20) and this he did. Stephen's daddy is a doctor. I bet he was proud to learn of his son's correct identification. Yes, Pilgrim, we are indeed called to "boldly proclaim" and "hold on" to our Lord! - Now boldly hold on to that thought.
Lastly, I was emailed photos taken by my eldest son at his church's Nativity play in Fairhope, Alabama. I learned that all three of these grans participated. The eldest was an acolyte, the youngest was a king, and the middle was Mary. As each image came through our computer, it seemed to go straight from my vision into my heart. This vessel seemed to be quickly filled to overflowing capacity. Before I knew it, I had dropped to my knees, just like the 12 pre-school "sheep" who were pictured crawling all the way down that church's long aisle - humbly crawling! The congregation laughingly rejoiced. I like those children's spunk! I think at an early age, they've gotten the right idea! Micah said, "walk humbly with thy god." (Micah 6:8) and Peter said, "be clothed with humility" (1 Peter 5:5b) and these costumed lambies did and were. I don't know these children's earthly daddys, but I bet they were all proud. I do believe their Abba Father was, for His Son said, "Let the little children come to Me and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the Kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." (Luke 18:16b-17)
Precious Pilgrim, as we prepare for the upcoming Lenten Season, may these Nativity scenes prepare us for Christ's Passion Play. May we bring along these gifts which these children gave - May we humbly, boldly, hold on to the Lord today and for all eternity.(c)2009 Precious Pilgrim Ministries