Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Mary and baby Jesus. He didn't cry once.
The Rabbi gets a mustache with the help of one of the gossipers...

The Angel Gabriel

The stable
Reenacting the Christmas story sounds innocuous, but this year we especially perceived the enemy's attempts to abort our efforts. Our plans were for the church to present a musical performance of the beloved Christmas story at our community center instead of in our church. That's what the enemy didn't like! Here are some of the obstacles we encountered.
1).The Sunday before the event, the youth leaders, together with the young people, were to blanket the neighborhood with advertising. One of the couples in leadership had a big fight over their toilet tank (!) that day and didn't show for the first part of our church service. Later, the wife did appear and instead of blanketing the neighborhood as planned, gave out the advertising to individual church members. After church, we held our first rehearsal. It was ludicrous. Several were unable to come and there seemed to be four or five directors instead of just one! The person responsible forgot to make copies of the script, but went home to print out a few.
2). Monday night the young people were to distribute invitations. The leader commutes by motocycle and a hard rain started falling just when she would be leaving home. The meeting was postponed to Wednesday.
3). Tuesday, the person who would be playing Joseph in the play called to say he had to work the night of our performance and suggested we give his part to his brother(!). He did say he would be done with work by 8:00 p.m. which meant he could still do the play if we started later than planned.
4). Wednesday, when the young people were to distribute invitations, the leader left work feeling dizzy and went home to lie down, but eventually did arrive! She and two of the girls from the youth group scattered throughout the neighborhood while the boys--not the least interested in helping--played a game of soccer nearby.
5). Friday night was our second rehearsal--still without the full cast. I e-mailed changes in the script to our friend but they mysteriously never printed out. We decided to do the play outside instead of inside the small community center.
6). It started pouring rain on Sunday morning even though the forecast was only for a 20% chance of rain at night. We held our breath as afternoon turned into evening and no more rain. Our talented stage hands built a beautiful stable, a bench was rescured from a pile of disgarded furniture on the corner, and things started taking shape.
7). All afternoon I was feeling anxious and disturbed because I hadn't yet invited my neighbors to the event. I needed those invitations! My insides were churning and I felt restless until I fell on my knees by my bed to ask the Lord for help and grace. When the youth leader arrived around seven--an hour before show time--with more invitations, I took to the street with several others to hand out last-minute invitations. We stopped at one house where an older lady was very interested in coming, but at another a stern-faced man bluntly asked, "Who are you?"
8). Just before showtime, a fine mist began to fall. A few umbrellas popped up. Prayers also popped up to heaven for God to intervene. And the rain stopped, giving us a beautiful, cool evening.
Then the play began. I stood by my post to run the sound and lights. The director basically lost it and was trying to help everyone with everything so that no one ended up directing the play!! A whole scene was skipped over, Mary came onto stage too soon and cut off one of Joseph's songs, actors made up lines, but the audience was unaware of our mistakes, and God was present! Little baby Jesus cooperated better than anyone else. He was held, laid in a hard manger, picked up and sung to and throughout the performance didn't cry even once!! His paternal Grandma, who isn't a Christian, cried throughout the play.
The greatest part was that many, many of our neighbors came--many who had gotten a last-minute invitation--and heard the Greatest Story Ever Told, as well as a personal testimony by Pastor Pat. It was a great victory!
The older lady we had invited was enthralled. She wants me to come visit her and says she will come to visit me.
We think we should make this an annual event for our neighborhood. We are so excited at how God can work inspite of human weakness, forgetfulness or failure. To God be the glory!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

Mom, that is wonderful what you all did...crazy as it was to get to wonderful!