Why Can’t We Celebrate Jesus?
I come from a long line of Christians, but I am not a big religious advocate. I started taking my kids to church a few years ago, when I realized that they could have another social circle and, hopefully, some positive influences.
Shane, particularly, has become a bit of a Bible thumper. He spent years listening to a wonderful Christian radio program, Adventures in Odyssey, and is a strong believer in the power of God. So when he asked this weekend if he could be part of the church’s Living Nativity, I didn’t see any reason to hold him back. I’ve been hoping he’ll make a good friend at church. And I figured he liked seeing the animals anyway – this year, a donkey and three sheep.
Shane was a fabulous shepherd. He wrapped a sash around his head like a headband and chose a real wooden walking stick as a staff. Waiting for his turn on “stage,” he and some other boys used the staffs like swords and created drum rhythms on the brick walls. But when the show started, Shane took his role very seriously, kneeling up front by the manger. The donkey took a liking to Shane, and I have numerous pictures of Shane’s furry friend trying to nibble his hair during the birthday of baby Jesus.
Meanwhile Dylan, who had been rehearsing a song for Christmas Eve, put on a shepherd’s costume without even asking. He just jumped in with a staff and became a shepherd for the evening’s remaining shows. The boys had an absolutely phenomenal time.
They had such a good time, they asked if they could do it again the following evening. It was 60 degrees outside, and Bill and I wanted to take the boys through the highly commercialized Santa-and-friends drive-through lights, preferably with the top down on the convertible so we could see every one of the 100,000 lights in the 3.5-mile drive.
The boys were given the final say in what to do that evening, knowing that it’s only four days until Christmas and that the lights won’t be there for much longer.
“But we won’t get to do the Living Nativity again for a whole year,” said Dylan.
“And we can celebrate Jesus, which is the true meaning of Christmas really,” said Shane.
“Yeah,” Dylan said, “why can’t we celebrate Jesus?”
They went back and did the Living Nativity for the second night. They were shepherds again, keeping watch over their flocks, kneeling to the baby king, having the time of their lives. I’m not sure when I’ve ever seen them both so happy. I don’t really understand the appeal, but who am I to question it?
They were happy.
I was hoping to see that happiness on Christmas morning, with all its fine, fun presents and glittery paper. But having seen it for two evenings straight – and for such a positive purpose – I think it will be fine no matter what.