Christmas is a season that is a window into the past
For me Christmas memories flood my mind this time of year. How about you? Do you remember the excitement of opening presents, eating delicious meals and enjoying the fun of family? All of these flood my mind and heart, especially as some of the family are not here any more…makes me gulp down a bit of grieving. How about you?
One of my favorite memories as a little boy growing up in a small town church, was serving in a live nativity scene that the church sponsored every December before Christmas. Members of the church would dress up and enact the scene of Joseph and Mary with the baby Jesus huddled in a barn, while the three Kings came marching in with their gifts. All the while the shepherds huddled around the fire (Michigan winters were always cold). I played one of the shepherd boys waiting for our cue to be startled by the Angel on the roof emerging and exclaiming in a load voice the announcement of the Messiah. Then we could gather ourselves and walk to the barn and kneel at the manger where the “baby Jesus” was laying in front of Mary and Joseph (usually played by a young couple in the church).
The play was really a recording that went out on the sound system along with the usual Christmas hymns in-between the different actions of the birth of Christ, the Kings and then the shepherds. A wire fence was placed in front of the drama to keep community audience apart from actors, lighting, speakers and the play. Each evening we would go through the drama about 20 times. Over the years the community looked forward to dramatization and we usually had a few hundred people come to watch.
I remember one evening I was playing the part of one of the shepherds. It was a really cold day and snow was actually falling. I remember almost feeling a bit weary of the routine and looking forward to the hot chocolate and cookies waiting for the actors after it was all over, when I happened to look over at a young family leaning over the fence watching the play. The little girl was on her father’s shoulders holding her baby doll with one hand and her father’s head with the other.
I watched as her face lit up with each new scene. It was probably the first time she had really understood what Christmas was all about. I could see her mouth drop and her eyes seemed to sparkle with the lighting of the stage. At the close of the Nativity play she crawled off her father’s shoulders and I watched as she pinched herself through the wire fence so she was personally on stage with Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus. She knelt down in front of the manger and placed her most precious possession, her doll, in the manger next to the Baby Jesus. A hush of silence seemed to break into the moment as many caught the inspiration of the event.
Her father called her back and she retreated to his arms and they walked home.
In the yearly routine of celebrating a well-rehearsed story one little girl had caught a glimpse of this incredible God-Event and was so moved to participate in it with her very best. To this day it still brings a tear to my eye.
In the midst of the routine of this yearly holiday would you pray with us about giving to the work of God in missions around the globe? Your generosity will help us and the missionaries you support share the love and message of Christ further and more this coming year. In that way…it will be blessed! Because that is what God is doing these days as He did that first Christmas day!
Merry Christmas and may you have a blessed New Year.
Your friends from Foundation for Missions,
Steve and Sharonne Beam
President-Foundation for Missions
Please note Christmas Holiday hours:
Founation Office will be closed on:
December 24th-26th, 2018
Make a donation here to the missionary, project or program you support…