Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ENTERTAIN (04/27/17)
TITLE: Don't Drop Baby Jesus
By Donna Powers
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I'd recently led our youth group in a play for the past summer’s VBS. I’d felt as though I thrived as director, and the teens enjoyed expressing their faith in drama. As I’d worked with them, I’d begun to believe the Lord was telling me He wanted me to become more involved with Christian drama.
I’ve always believed drama is an amazing way to portray God’s truths; and to help the performers discover some of their God-given gifts. But some of the teens I’d worked with hadn’t exactly been “ready for prime time”, and I believe God deserves first-class performances..
So, when a pastor from a nearby church contacted me to ask me to direct their church's Christmas production, he had me at "will you direct our production?"
I was too excited to listen to any details, but I heard enough to get the address of the church.
I was so excited! A "production"! My imagination ran wild with ideas. At last I’d “graduate” from that VBS play and do something worthwhile for the Lord. I envisioned directing talented adult actors who’d enrapture the audience.
For God – of course.
And then I got to the church, and met my actors: their Primary Sunday School class.
My heart sank as Pastor Willis introduced me to the group. They were all first-through-third graders, and I immediately knew there was no way they could fulfill my extravagant dreams. My hopes were torpedoed even further when I learned this would be their annual reenactment of the Nativity.
Shepherds, angels, Magi, manger. The whole works. Not an original idea in the whole “production.”
“What’s up with this, God?” I silently stormed.
I thought of quitting, but as I surveyed my perspective troupe, I saw their eager eyes. And there was one special second grade girl: she had the luminous eyes of innocence mixed with awe. Right away, I knew: she was our Mother Mary.
So I jumped in – with two left feet.
First, I had to figure out who could read well enough to have a speaking part. Anyone with animal hair allergies couldn’t be a shepherd or wise man. Then, I had to convince the non-allergic non-readers it was really an honor to play the hind end of one of the cattle, camels or sheep.
And, despite my first impression of our doe-eyed Mother Mary, she turned out to be a major trial to work with. Her nasal voice and deadpan delivery did not match her luminous eyes. And, according to our “Mary”:
Her costume made her itch, the manger smelled funny. , the angels were making too much noise on the manger roof - aAnd, last but not least: Joseph was “really icky”, kept bumping into her, and kept dropping “Baby Jesus.”
Many times, I begged him, “please, don’t drop Baby Jesus.” He’d promise, but it was as if that doll had been greased in butter.
I plodded on; too far in to quit. It was a bitter pill to swallow: I’d wanted to serve God with something much worthier than what this “production” seemed destined to be.
The night of the production, the church’s congregation crowded the church’s auditorium. I held my breath, said a prayer and opened the curtains.
The show went off with only some minor glitches, and I breathed a sigh of relief when it was over. I was ready to dash out the back door as soon as it ended, but our Mary and Joseph held up their hands for silence, after the curtain call.
“We just want to thank Miss Charlotte,” began Mary. I was frozen in my tracks; I hadn’t been expecting this.
Joseph reached behind the manger, (dropping Baby Jesus, one last time) and pulled out a big poster, on which every actor had placed their pictures and signatures. In big red and green letters, it said, “Thank you for helping us tell the story of Baby Jesus.”
I burst into tears. I hugged them both and accepted the poster. As I approached the children, everyone began to clap. Every eye was shining, and the joy of the Lord was palpable in the auditorium.
All of a sudden I realized: I had created a “production”, after all- the one God had planned, all along.
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