We bustled around in the basement of the church, little children fluttering in our Christmas nativity costumes. I probably did flutter since, as one of the younger children, I was cast as one of the multitude of angels who appeared before the shepherds. All we had to do was look cherubic and sing Hark the Herald if we remembered the words. I wore a white shapeless gown, silver wings, and a halo that wouldn’t stay put.
I remember only bits and pieces of that night. Many of the smaller angels dreamed of playing Mary or Joseph someday. Not me. I wanted to be the herald. The angel who stepped forward and announced Christ’s birth to the shepherds as they watched over their flocks. I can still see the girl who acted this part. To me, she was so much older, but I was maybe three, possibly four, so I’m guessing she might have been thirteen or fourteen. All I knew was I wanted to announce Christ’s birth to the shepherds and our congregation:
And the angel said unto them, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David
a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God,
and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” Luke 2:10-14
A few years later, our church quit enacting the Christmas nativity play. I never got to play the herald, but even today, I still feel the awe I felt over her part in this children’s play.
Maybe that’s why today I want to share Christ’s birth with you. Why I feel the need to shine His light on the lives of others and help them open their hearts and ears to His remarkable love.
Did you play a part in the nativity as a child? What part? How did your nativity experience shape your life and faith?