web04eliza-play.jpgThe line of angels bunched and buckled as the row of wing-bedecked elementary-aged choristers snaked around the nativity set and into the foyer. Someone stopped abruptly, and a secondary angel crashed into the head honcho, the holy host with full gold regalia and the critical lines of the play. Be not afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy.

The angel turned. “Do not be pushing The Angel of the Lord!”

The littler angels tittered.

“Hush children.” The woman in charge of the play painstakingly arranged the children in the order they would process into the church, hastily reassigning some speaking roles for kids who were out sick.

“Does anyone have any questions regarding their lines?” she asked.

A sheep raised her hand, the wool paw waving a sheet of paper near her white fuzzy head. “I do! These words from the Bible don’t make any sense!”

Giggles.

The woman hesitated a moment. “Well, sometimes the Bible can seem that way.” She hesitated a moment more, then thought better of adding anything to the statement. “Anyone else?”

The procession squirmed as they waited for their cue to enter the hushed sanctuary, where the last young instrumentalist tapped out a melody-only version of Jingle Bells on the baby grand. A crash broke the quiet. The gold box of myrrh had hit the floor. “Shhh!” several angels said.

A boy in a crown and a purple robe stooped to pick it up, but dropped the lid again.web04-emily-play.jpg

“You’re pretty stupid for a wise man,” said another one of the wise guys.

Shepherds quaked as they held in silent laughter.

“Children!”

Finally the music began, and the cast paraded down the aisle to the smiles of parents and the clicks of video cameras set to record.

Despite their cracks at each other, the pushing, the impatience, only a few lines into “Silent Night,” the tone of the evening changed, the room dimmed so that the lights haloed their faces, and Christmas Eve truly began.

For born unto us this day in the city of David is a Savior, who is Christ our Lord.

Elizabeth was an angel in this year’s play. Emily was the banner carrier (she and the other banner bearer are seated at the front of the group picture.)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Have a wonderful holiday full of family and love.

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