Went with my friends this week to watch their three-year-old play one of the stars in the Bethlehem sky while angels announced the miraculous birth to shepherds watching their flocks by night. To the beaming smiles of parents and grandparents, the cute little cherubs sang Silent Night and Hark the Herald Angels Sing.
The faithful choir director tried keeping everyone together with exaggerated hand signals, but the three wise men had a different tempo agenda, sprinting to the “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” finish line well ahead of the pack.
Sweet little Mary kneeling with her husband, Joseph, looked tenderly at baby Jesus before wrapping Him in swaddling clothes—upside down with feet sticking out—and placing Him head first in the manger.
The rest of the assembled cast was full of the usual adorable characters. Stage-frightened statues stared wide-eyed at the crowd trying not to cry. Beside them some lip syncers didn’t contribute musically but gave the hand motions a tenuous try. And thank goodness for the serious shouters who carefully watched the director and belted out all the words they remembered at the top of their lungs.
And there’s always a runner. Years back, my four-year-old was a sheep who ran off the stage and onto my lap. It would take a few more years before he’d give it another shot, and that was for the leading role of Gabriel. The day prior to the play, though, he got cold feet and wanted to back out. We resorted to bribery. “What if I got you a cool sword to wear?” Don’t judge. Angels sometimes have swords, although I seriously doubt that Gabriel held a sword aloft like my son did while saying, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.”
These memories are magical moments causing us to reflect on the most glorious event in all of history and the words of Jesus who said, “Let the little children come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
I’m grateful for the beautifully innocent children in our lives—but most of all for the Child Who was the Lamb of God sent to bring forgiveness, peace on earth, and good will toward men.
“For unto us a Child is born, and unto us a Son is given.”