This year, even more than other years in my time here, the nativity play has been less organised than usual.
I write it each year, and I usually build it up from things that have happened through the year. But this year, it was all a little fragile, and we were not sure who would be around.
It was this morning.
It was terrific. There were lots of people to take part, some of them reading parts with no rehearsal, and doing it perfectly (with an odd prompt). The audience – sorry – congregation joined in with enthusiasm – including suggesting that the Holy Family might be put up in the Sheraton, or the manse, or indeed, travel to Australia. The tinies were as delightful as they can be, having interesting conversations about sheep and gold, and the adult drafted in to be a wise person did all that was asked of him (stage direction – come in and look bemused; “I can do that,” he said – and did)
I loved it.
And I loved the reactions, the joining in, the hiding and being found (the script was called Hunt the Nativity – sadly, we forgot to tell anybody that…which is typical of the whole morning).
And, if I am premitted a moment’s theologising; the Scripture suggests Mary had no idea what she was doing (How shall this be?) Joseph was making it up as he went along (he was minded to put her away privately, but then a dream caused him to improvise) the shepherds hadn’t a clue what was going on (they had to be told not to be afraid, and then to where to go) and the visitors from the east were so confused they went to the wrong town.
I reckon we got it right this morning; God is doing something, and we are not altogether sure what. But we get invited to join in and see what happens.
And I bet the hosts of heaven are as delighted with our efforts and our desire to be part of it all, even muddledly as the congregation were at our youngsters today.
Sermon over – but it gives me great comfort!