As I started thinking about the theme for this year’s “We Gather Together” holiday series, I kept returning to the concept of “little lessons.” Let me share such a lesson from last night.
I’ve been directing our church’s live nativity (and more – we present our version of the entire story of Jesus) for the last 3 years. Rain forced us to move the event inside and last night was our first presentation. I like to walk through our village and listen to the stories presented by our major characters. Last night was unlike any other. The stories were amazing; I was mesmerized! No doubt the costumes, Christmas music, scenery and lighting helped me get into the event. But the stories were so wonderful. Every presentation encouraged my heart and fed my soul. I am blessed to be surrounded by a Christian community of true worshippers.
After the event was over, the doors closed and our guests had left, two special stories emerged.
The first was from John, a friend who was playing Peter, the fisherman, apostle and faithful follower of Jesus. John (as Peter) shared about his former life as a fisherman and his new life as a devoted disciple and fisherman of men. Early in the story, John (as Peter) admits that before following Jesus that he “was a pretty bad guy.” As John paused and took a breath a young boy, totally involved in the moment, looked up at “Peter” and said “I’ve done bad things too.” John was blessed to share the rest of Peter’s story. We do not have to live as “bad guys” – Jesus changes everything!!
The last stop in our village includes an empty cross and an empty tomb. Last night, the two “actors” at that stop, Barbara and Tom, rejoiced and told visitors that the grave could not hold our Savior. Jesus is in heaven and we can live with Him for all eternity. It was inspiring to hear them praise God – there was no “acting” as their eyes gleamed with joy and their faces were filled with hope.
Three kids had finished the tour of our village and had had their fill of cookies and hot chocolate. As their parents talked with friends, the kids wandered about. It was then that they approached Tom and asked him some questions. Tom, aware of the opportunity God was giving to him, had the kids sit down in front of him and the four of them had a private chat with laughter and serious looks mixed together. The kids didn’t want to leave their newfound friend.
Little lesson – people are listening. As we celebrate Christmas, we need to use well our voices, our postings and those precious, unexpected moments. We should unabashedly share the joy of the Lord. It is true, we have all been “bad guys” at some point in our lives, but people have taken the time to tell us the story of Christmas, hear our questions, listen to our concerns, walk with us, and to point us to the Lord. Our words and actions may make an eternal difference .
Day 1 Little Lesson: People are listening.
(Just one of God’s kids)
Ps. If you live in the Pensacola area, join us at our live nativity (“Love’s Story), Saturday and Sunday, December 1&2, 6:30-8:30, 3475 Pine Forest Road.