The Retelling of the Christmas Story, Neighborhood Style
The neighborhood invitation stated that the Christmas nativity would begin at 5pm.
“Mary” did not want to wear a costume, so her unicorn sweater sufficed.
Two “wise men” were sent home for behavioral issues.
“The star” ran back and forth into the house.
Narrator: “This is Mary, a girl of Galilee.
She lived long years ago, but such a wonderful thing happened to her that we remember her and love her still. One day an angel appeared to Mary.”
The children settled in and a sweeping hush came over those in attendance. The large, blue sheet backdrop, complete with gold stars and hung by chip clips to the gutters, waved in the chilling breeze against the garage doors. The kitchen chairs were lined up with camp chairs on the ghostly cold concrete driveway. The brisk late afternoon air produced red noses and rosy cheeks.
Narrator: “Mary brought forth her son. And she wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger, since there was no room for them in the inn.”
The less than perfect pageant turned into a long, glorious, deep breath of contentment. The precious young mom of three gently led the children as she narrated the 2000-year-old story. The historical account - if ever so brief - of the Christ child was alive and well in my neighborhood.
This same story was spoken in my community decades ago. How about yours? I played the role of “Mary.” Wrapped head to toe in sheets, I was 6-years-old and nervous about the performance. We sat on real straw and a manger was built with scrap wood. A neighbor boy was Joseph. There were wise men, shepherds and angels. Much giggling ensued with the neighborhood children. The story proceeded.
Narrator: “The angel reassured the shepherds, ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. Today, in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’”
The reenactment of the nativity had many flaws in both cases.
Or did it?
Present was this hope:
This story is true.
This story is real.
This story is life changing.
The incredible story of God coming to earth makes its debut repeatedly as believers around the world tell of the birth of Jesus. The celebration of Christmas arrives every December and Luke 2 is read. Sometimes it comes with a grand performance of an orchestra, bright lights and a stage full of gifted individuals. Beautiful still, are the starlit nights on driveways with imperfect neighborhood children who practice for ten minutes and perform for an audience of eight.
“What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice. Yes, I will rejoice.”
Paul’s words echo in my mind.
Let’s pass the torch of sharing the gospel.
Let’s offer the hope of Jesus to those around us.
Let’s ring out the message in our homes, neighborhoods and communities.
Narrator: “May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the perseverance of the wise men, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas!”
YES AND AMEN!
Merry, merry Christmas!