What creates a sense of wonder? The beauty of nature can do it for those of us close enough to nature to enjoy grand vistas of snow on mountains or mighty seascapes. For the most part, however, our lives offer little that inspires awe. The whispers from Disney and the North Pole feed on our needs and greed. It’s a genuine, tough challenge to be inspired and to inspire others, as calendars get crowded with events and appointments, and days are rarely long enough to accomplish everything on our to-do lists. “What to do…?” as my African friends would often ask.
THERE’S A BABY IN THE BARN!!
I believe it is possible to take ourselves – our families – back to the actual events that surrounded the birth of our Savior. We may be tempted to pop a video in the player or find some dramatization on TV, but there’s a better, simpler way.
Get your Bibles and Bible story books (depending on the ages of people involved) and enter into the Story as God gave it to us. One way to do this is to assign parts. (Luke 2:4-7, for instance) Let Mom be Mary and Dad be Joseph. Kids can take the part of the Inn Keeper and his family and guests. Give each person time to assimilate his role by asking, and answering questions. For instance: Be the Innkeeper. How much did I struggle with myself before I sent Mary and Joseph out to sleep with the animals? Was my Inn really full? How about my own bed? Would my wife agree? After I shut the door, did I just get busy with my other guests and forget all about Mary and Joseph? Did I even learn their names? Did I wake up when the shepherds came to see the new born Babe? Did I send a servant with hot water and clean cloths. Did I ever come and worship the newborn King?
Once everyone has had a chance to ‘become’ a person in the story, come together. Let someone read the passage from the Bible that you’ve chosen as your focus, and then each person can tell his or her own story based on the questions he made and answered. Finally, let participants answer these questions, “I wonder -if I really was this person in the story, how would I feel? How might my life change?” And, finally, “Is there something God wants to say to me, as me, from this experience?” In other words, “Have I learned something?”
If some children are a bit young to do this on their own, at least at the beginning, let them pair up with an older child, teenager or adult. The point is to give ourselves time to become part of the Story.
You may know kids (and adults, too) who enjoy drawing pictures, working with puppets, music and dance. Find ways this month to encourage them to use these talents to enter into the Story. Try saying ‘come with me into the Story of our Savior’s birth’ each time you read some portion of Scripture, or some author, other than God, who tells how Jesus came to earth.
And don’t forget to light two candles this Sunday and start thinking about how you could build your own, unique crèche. More about this next time.
As we always do, we welcome your contributions. What have you found that helps you ‘enter into His Story?’