My congregation’s Christmas party was a few weeks ago. It was a fun event with caroling, dinner for over 200 people, and, of course, the obligatory Nativity scene.
My ten-year-old daughter had been asked the day before if she would participate. She eagerly agreed. Her cousin had told her, “Well, it’s not likely you’ll get to be Mary.” But who should she end up as? Mary, of course.
Each of the kids was supposed to freeze in a tableau when the curtains opened. Ten-year-old did a great job of freezing, only I don’t think she thought about the look on her face when she froze. Instead of a small, Madonna and Child kind of smile, she was showing every single one of her teeth. In a bearing them at an enemy look rather than a beatific grin. She was very good at holding still and looked beautiful nonetheless. We were too far back to get a good pic, so you’ll have to imagine it.
But her performance as Mary was nothing like my sister’s. I still remember that church congregation party. I had been deemed too old to be in the nativity that year. And while I outwardly agreed, I inwardly remember being slightly jealous of my sister’s part in the play.
I was even more jealous when she arrived on the scene dressed as Mary, the main role. No sheep or angel for her.
She walked in a very dignified manner across the stage, and then took her seat on the chair.
It was lovely, except for the fact that no one had yet spoken to her about how a lady sits when wearing a dress. Or maybe they had, but it just hadn’t sunk it yet.
There she was, in the blue robe, legs splayed so far apart I was certain she was still in the act of giving birth rather than being done with it when the shepherds came for a visit with their little sheep.
I laugh whenever I think about that moment. But it does nothing to lessen my reverence for the sacred gift that a Father gave to all his children. Take a moment and watch this beautiful depiction of the greatest gift of all time.