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Saturday, December 6, 2014

A TRUE, LIVE NATIVITY SCENE

"Hush Little Baby Don't You Cry,
Momma's Gonna Sing You
A Lullaby"
........................................
A True, Live Nativity Scene, 
But
Silouettes Aren't Supposed To Move!

Once upon a time ..
not too long ago ...
perhaps it WAS a long time ago, now that I think about it.
No matter ...While sorting through ornaments and lights, holly and wrapping paper 
I remembered a Christmas Pageant celebrated in a small town,
country church ...... and how one tiny baby boy 
brought to a couple of cold hearts the true meaning of Christmas ..... 
.......................
Pastor's Wife called the meeting to order.
"We have to get one important matter settled quickly," she said, peering over spoon shaped glasses balanced at the end of her nose. Her high soprano singing voice did well to project the seriousness of last minute details for the upcoming Christmas Pageant.
"The angels and shepherds, Mary and Joseph, Wise Men and narrator, Pastor John, have all volunteered. With a few exceptions, they're the same volunteers we had last year."
"But we don't have a baby the right age for Baby Jesus," one woman stood up and reminded everyone. "Last year's Jesus is too big and there's no new ......"
"Oh yes there is!" another woman interrupted, leaning forward and rising from her seat.  She looked about at the people gathered on hard wooden pews. "My grandson is just one month old.... perfect age to be Baby Jesus." She sat back down and glanced at those around her.
A hush fell over the gathering.
A few cleared throats and wiggling in seats made it obvious no one was going to immediately second the motion.
 Pastor's Wife clapped her hands delightedly, and approvingly she said, "Of course! He's perfect!"
She banged the podium and said, "I motion that this baby boy will be our Infant in the Christmas Pageant."
A number of heads slowly bobbed in approval, a few hands went up slightly in agreement .... except for one lady who rose and said,
"Nothing personal ...." she glanced at the grandmother of the child. "But .... under the circumstances of his .... umm birth ... it's, umm not appropriate he be our Christ Child .... ummmm."
All eyes turned to Pastor's Wife.
She pulled herself up straight and tall, all 4 ft. 11 inches ... squiggled her shoulders, adjusted her glasses and declared,
"This child is PERFECT to be Baby Jesus." 
And when Pastor's Wife made up her mind about something it was settled.
Last minute details to the Nativity scene were made the week prior to the Christmas Play ....... painting scenery for the stage .... rehearsals and  costumes sewn to fit pudgier or thinner angels for shepherds and wise men that had been worn by last year's participants.

The final dress rehearsal the night before the Christmas Play and all participants were in place.
Pastor's Wife stood before the 
Angels, Wise Men, Shepherds and Mary and Joseph and reminded them how simple this play was for them.
There was no dialogue and nobody moved about.
"Remember as you stand in your spot on the stage that you won't be seen except as silhouettes while Pastor reads the story about the birth of Jesus."
Everyone gathered, and in costume, nodded in agreement ... even the tiniest Angel. And they stood very very still while the lights were dimmed and shifted from one scene to the next as Pastor read the story of Jesus's birth.
When it came time for the silhouette of Mary and Joseph with Baby Jesus, one angel asked," But where's Baby Jesus?"
"Oh, he's at home with his mommy," Pastor's wife answered and giggled, "Probably sound asleep right not. He doesn't need to be here to practice."

Annual Christmas Pageant was about to begin.
All seats in the old church were filled. Lights were down low and candles shone atop the upright piano. Warm winter coats and mittens and scarves were shed and laid across laps and draped over the backs of the pews.
Expectantly, the audience hushed.

During these last moments before the play Baby Boy's mommy was in the foyer alcove nursing him, in preparation for his few minutes of fame held in the arms of "Mary" in the company of "Joseph" and company.
She changed his diaper, wiped the last bit of milk from his tiny chin and adjusted his baby jammies which would be covered in 'swaddling clothes' while being held by 'Mary'.

Lights were dimmed. And a hush fell over the place.
A soft spotlight shone on sheets hanging across wire strung above the stage, concealing Joseph and a very pregnant Mary (stuffed with a pillow at her belly)  silhouetted and holding perfectly still.
And with his strong voice Pastor John read from Luke 2:1-20:
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world, (this was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David."

Lights out. Hustle and bustle to change to the next scene. 

"He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."

The Baby Boy stand-in for Jesus wasn't needed yet ... since the scene silhouetted a seated Mary beside a manger (empty but the audience didn't know that) with Joseph alongside, head down gazing at the cradle.

Lights out. Spotlight shifted to motionless silhouettes of an angel and shepherds along with plastic sheep onstage while Pastor continued reading and Pastor's Wife played softly on the upright piano.

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them ......."

Spotlight shone and made silhouettes of the three assorted sized and standing very still little shepherds, and the angel - a tall teenage girl, wings spanning behind her, standing motionless, arms outstretched .... that is motionless until her right wing began to droop and very slowly she reached up and held onto it before it fell to the stage. A shepherds staff clunked to the floor. "Stand still ... don't pick it up," a soft voice was heard in the background.

" .... but the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you; You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
Suddenly a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, (three more smaller angels silhouetted beside the Big Angel) praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

Pastor's Wife played Hark the Herald Angels Sing and the audience sang along.
Little Angels and Shepherds squirmed a bit during the song, but held as still as any little angel or shepherd could.

Pastor John continued reading, "When the angels left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

"That's your cue," Grandmother said softly to Baby Boy's mommy.
They slipped out of the foyer and dashed alongside the darkened side wall of the church. Once at the stage, obscured by a heavy curtain, Baby Boy was passed to "Mary" and she took her place with the sleeping baby in her arms.

Spotlight shined onto Mary and Joseph, with Jesus cuddled close to Mary's chest. Three small shepherds stood still beside them.
And Pastor John read,
"So the shepherds hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 
But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. ........"

While Pastor John continued reading about the shepherds and the Wise Men, who stood motionless,
and the spotlight shined onto Mary and Baby Jesus ....
Baby Boy began to wiggle....and coo 
and squirm ...
he poked his little fist into the air and brought it back down to his mouth ...
soft lovely baby sucking noises could be heard.

And sitting in the audience in front of Baby Boy's Mommy and Grandmother were the two ladies who had voted against 
this child portraying Baby Jesus in the annual Christmas Pageant.
But this time they were sniffling and passing tissues to each other,
watching this very special Baby Boy bring to life
the Baby Boy Jesus
who 
brought Peace and Love, Acceptance, Forgiveness and
Salvation to the world.
"Best Christmas Pageant ever!" one lady could be heard whispering to her friend. And the friend nodded and snuffled and said, "Mmmm, I agree. Oh look... look!" she whispered, pointing to the stage.




 Mary lifted Jesus closer to her face as he made soft sounds that babies make when they're hungry.
She tilted her head toward him and began to rock ... slowly and gently. And he was quiet.
The church lights blinked on and chased away the dark shadows in the recesses of the old church.
Audience clapped and Pastor's Wife swept her hand toward the stage. Angels bowed, sending one halo falling to the stage, Big Angel removed her wayward wing, Mary and Joseph beamed and Jesus whimpered and sucked on his fist. One little Shepherd picked up a plastic sheep and a Wise Man tugged at his robe.
Clapping resounded throughout the church. Mommies waved at their little angels and wise men,
and Pastor's Wife led them all in singing 
"Silent Night, Holy Night
all is calm 
all is bright ....."

May this Christmas Season bring you all the 
joy
peace
love 
and acceptance towards all
as happened when the first Christmas babe came into this world.
Merry Christmas
This is a true story.
Monica Lawson 2014






















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