The Christmas Play
It was like a reenactment of a great Napoleonic battle. Arranged on the hundred-foot stage at one end were 4-to-5 year olds, dressed as angels, facing their classmates dressed as manger animals on the other. On a line down the middle, facing the audience, were the three wise men paired up with the manger animals; and on the opposite end, the shepherds had been joined with the angels. It couldn’t be any other way!
Standing in the middle, in sort of a no-mans-land between the combatants, was Mary and Joseph, who strangely enough, were accompanied by a red-bearded innkeeper and his wife. Though that was definitely awkward, it was somewhat understandable. King Herod didn’t show this year, and these Bible bad-guy reenactors are really slick!
Never saw baby Jesus, though. Someone must have left the American Girl Bitty Baby stand-in at home.
As they took turns at the mic, sharing well-practiced prose in clever rhyming snippets, the Christmas Story unfolded before our eyes, but in a hilariously combative way. The speakers provided a kind of pre-arranged truce negotiation, between a volley of songs like “What Child is This?” and “Oh What a Special Night.”
The climax of the struggle was a hair-raising rendition of Lauren Daigel’s “Noel” where some of the angels and shepherds went into wild gyrations that looked Pentecostal (and this was a Baptist Church!), on the “nooooooel, nooooooel” part, while the manger animals and wise men answered with the screaming bomb “…look what God has done…” The parents and grandparents were laughing so hard, they were having difficulty maintaining composure!
In the end, the battle subsided during “Behold that Star” and “We Wish You a Merry Christmas,” but not before the 2-year olds were hearded / wandered onto the stage dressed as snowflakes, to sing, you guessed it, the “Snowflake Song.”
This time of year, some version of this scene is repeated hundreds, maybe thousands, of times, by 4-to-5 year olds all across North Carolina. And Jesus? No doubt He is there, baby doll or not.
Matthew 18:3 “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.”