Friday, December 13, 2013

DEVOTION: An Unusual Christmas Message ~ by Shirley Corder

Live in harmony and peace. And may the God of love and peace be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 TLB

The children in my Sunday School had rehearsed their parts in the Christmas production for months. All went well, until the grand finale. Mary and Joseph came on stage with Baby Jesus. Angels followed, then the shepherds. Next came the wise men. The cutest came last.

A murmur of delight greeted the twelve two- and three-year-old cherubs who walked on-stage holding hands and dressed in long white robes and silver halos. They obediently formed a semi-circle in front of the Baby Jesus then sat down cross-legged . . . with one exception.

Brad’s freckled face broke into an excited grin as he spotted Granny. He pulled his hand free and waved. People chuckled. Embarrassed, the little boy pulled on his robe, revealing a pair of chubby legs and blue boxer shorts.

Three-year-old Laura decided to get things back on track. She grabbed Brad's shorts and tugged. The congregation roared. Brad grabbed his shorts, then saw Laura. He may only be two-years-old, but no girl would get the better of him. He took a swing. Laura obviously had older brothers. She scrambled to her feet and shoved him. Brad came back, both fists flailing. I jumped forward and swept Brad off stage. Another teacher grabbed Laura. The congregation was hysterical.

We completed the play, but the spectacular ending didn’t happen. Some of the children had the giggles. Ripples of laughter kept sweeping across the hall. The two littlest angels sat and glared at each other.

After the curtain closed, the pastor thanked the Sunday school for their "most unusual presentation" of the Christmas story. When the laughter eased off, he added. “In the book of Revelation we read ‘There was war in Heaven’ and some of the angels were cast down to earth." (Revelation 12:7-9)

At the time, the production seemed to be a disaster. But had we put on a perfect presentation, it would have been forgotten in the haze of children's Christmas plays through the years. To this day, folk still break out in laughter when someone mentions that Christmas pageant of so long ago. And they will never forget the Scripture, "There was war in Heaven"! Not the Scripture we planned to leave in their memories, but maybe it's one God wanted them to remember.

Over to you: What memories do you plan to make this Christmas? Are they traditional memories? Or is there something different you can do that your loved ones will remember for years to come?

P.S. - Following some of the comments, I'm interested to know how many countries still celebrate Christ's nativity with children's pageants or Christmas plays. Please share with us below if your country still does this.

SHIRLEY CORDER lives on the coast in South Africa with her husband. Her book, Strength Renewed: Meditations for your Journey through Breast Cancer contains 90 meditations based on some of the ways God's Positioning System directed her through the rough times in the cancer valley. It is available globally in print or online in e-versions. 

Please visit Shirley through ShirleyCorder.com, where she encourages writers, or at RiseAndSoar.com, where she encourages those in the cancer valley. You can also meet with her on Twitter or FaceBook. Sign up for her newsletter.

22 comments:

  1. Love that! Definitely not something people will forget. I'm always amazed at how important traditions are to my kids. Even ones I didn't purposely create. They just happened. This Christmas I just want to enjoy being with my kids whether we're cooking together, playing games or laughing with a video. It's just such a blessing to all be together!

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  2. You're so right, Lisa. I'm sure none of the adults that were at that service will ever forget that "there was war in Heaven"!

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  3. In our church we have sheep as well as shepherds. One year a child in the sheep's costume knocked over an urn, said "uh oh" and picked up the broom and proceeded to sweep up the mess. You can bet that pageant is remembered!

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    1. Oh how SWEET! Thanks for sharing, Alice. Love it!

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  4. Shirley, kids say and do the such funny things. Wonderful story - thanks for sharing.

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    1. Yes, they certainly do. Thanks for visiting, Karen.

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  5. Loved this story, Shirl. Reminds me of a pageant I wrote about a while ago - http://marcialeelaycock.com/2013/12/13/the-promise-of-christmas/

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    1. Oh Marcia, I loved this story too! I could so identify with the chaos backstage! Thanks for sharing.

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  6. And now we are watching our grandchildren make memories - and yes, hopefully some involving their grandad and grandma too.

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    1. You're right Mary, but your comment makes me think. I don't know that the kids of South Africa are making the same sort of memories (in the churches) as our children. That's sad. How about Oz?

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  7. Had to laugh. They do say never work with kids or animals!
    Our Christmas traditions are the nativity scene is always first decoration up. We have a real tree which because of summer temps in Australia we don't get till the last week. Decorated accompanied by carols and the star always goes on last.

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    1. Thanks for sharing Dale. Yes, when we used to buy a live tree we also got ours during the final week before Christmas because of the S.African heat. We no longer buy real trees, nor do we put up many decorations, as we don't normally have people visiting over this time. I admit I miss the joy and celebration of the huge tree and other decorations.

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  8. Lovely encounter with the 'angels'. Sadly we haven't had a Christmas pageant for some years - but what a wonderful way to make memories. Thanks Shirl!

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    1. Thanks for the comment Ann. What you say confirms what I said above to Mary Hawkins of Australia. Christmas pageants seem to have faded from the church programme, certainly in South Africa. I'd love to know if this is true in other countries. Any comments?

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  9. Hi Shirley: These past six years, our Drama Ministry has presented a Christmas play. Then, the children's department has a Sunday where they have a Christmas play. Our church has two services; this year the Children's Christmas Sunday is tomorrow (12/15) I am unable to be there due to the sinus infection I have. I will hear about it from one or two or three of my closest friends. Our children's director wrote this play.

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    1. SO thrilled to hear of at least one place where this tradition is being carried on. I ache to be able to enjoy this side of Christmas again! Sorry you're going to miss it. Get better quickly!

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  10. Shirl, a memorable story. You've got to love the 'realness' of kids! Thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Yes, in hindsight it was a memorable service! At the time it was like a nightmare in the making. LOL!

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  11. Hillarious! I had such a good laugh! Thank you Shirl. I am planning to spend this Xmas humming a little children song wherever I go...
    "Christmas isn't Christmas till it happens in your heart, somewhere deep inside you is where Christmas really starts. So give your heart to Jesus and remember when you do, that it's Christmas, really Christmas for you!"
    So, if we pass somewhere in PE, I hope you will be humming with me! :-)

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  12. LOL! I can promise you one thing Sue. If we do pass somewhere in PE, I WON'T be humming that song. I don't know it. :-) You'll have to sing it to me.

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