by Nan Jones
"Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down His sweet head…"
Young cherubic voices rang through the sanctuary. Mary sat by the manger, a slight slump in her shoulders indicated awkwardness. Baby Jesus lay very still—you might say rigid—in the trough filled with hay while Joseph stood stoically by Mary's side, trying to hide a smirk as he spotted friends on the back pew.
"Behold! I bring you tidings of great joy!" the four-foot angel declared to the shepherds. Mary looked up with wide eyes and open mouth as the loud voice boomed. The angel waved her arms up and down and flew away behind the curtain.
Shepherds began walking. Lambs began crawling. "Ba-a-a! Ba-a-a-a-a!" while the congregation giggled at the sight. The shepherds and some of the lambs made it to the nativity (others found momma) and bowed before the newborn King.
From the door of the sanctuary a song filled the air, "We three kings of orient are bearing gifts, we traversed afar…" Cardboard camels pulled along on wheels graced three regal kings wrapped in bath robes. One crown sat askew atop a young blonde and another one was held securely by a small kingly hand, but my goodness, weren't these boys proud. Kings, no less! Tommy was especially happy—he didn't want to be some shepherd boy like the others.
All the characters had found their place at the manger.
A holy hush fell among the congregation.
The pure faith of children touched hearts.
The power of tradition sealed the sacred message.
In the quiet of the moment, two teenagers walked down the center aisle, each carrying a lit candle. Stopping at the end of each pew, the boys passed the flame and watched the light spread as person after person lifted their candle high. The sanctuary filled with candlelight. The overhead lights were dimmed. And within minutes, the sanctuary transformed into a starlit night.
"Silent night. Holy night. All is calm, all is bright…"
A sweet, sweet spirit bound the people together.
Christmas tradition linked generation to generation.
Strife, for the moment, ceased. Love prevailed.
And the children led them, mesmerized by the miracle of Christmas.
Nan Jones is an author/speaker who uses the words of her heart to assist fellow Christians in discovering the Presence of God in their darkest hour. She has been published in several anthologies as well as the online inspirational sites Christian Devotions, and Inspire a Fire where she is a monthly contributor. She is also a monthly contributor to PW Connections, a blog and forum to encourage pastors' wives. Nan has had the honor of being featured as a guest blogger on several sites. She is thrilled to announce her debut book, The Perils of a Pastor's Wife released June 30, 2015 by Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. This memoir was a 2016 Selah finalist. When Nan isn't writing, she enjoys leading prayer retreats, bible studies or sharing God’s love as keynote speaker for special events. She is becoming known by her brand: "Even so, I walk in the Presence of the Lord" as she teaches her audience to go beyond the veil to find God's Presence. You may visit Nan at her website: www.NanJones.com. Nan has also created a facebook community page, Seeing Beyond The Veil, to provide a place for folks to go and get away from the chaos for a few moments and focus on Jesus through scripture, worship, testimony, and inspirational quotes. For personal communication you may email Nan at email@example.com