By Ruth Dinkins Rowan
The day of the Christmas presentation finally arrived. My young daughter, Jana, was so excited about her part that I supposed she was to be one of the main characters, though she had not told me what she was to do. The parents were all there and one by one the children took their places. I could see the shepherds fidgeting in the corner of the stage meant to represent the fields for the sheep. Mary and Joseph stood solemnly behind the manger. In the back, three young wise men waited impatiently. But still Jana sat quietly and confidently.
Then the teacher began: “A long time ago, Mary…had a baby and…named Him Jesus,” she said. “And when Jesus was born, a bright star appeared over the stable.”
At that cue, Jana got up from her chair, picked up a large tinfoil star, walked behind Mary and Joseph and held the star up high for everyone to see.
When the teacher told about the shepherds coming to see the baby, the three young shepherds came forward and Jana jiggled the star up and down excitedly to show them where to come. When the wise men responded to their cue, she went forward a little to meet them and to lead the way, her face as alight as the real star might have been.
The playlet ended. We had refreshments. On the way home Jana said, with great satisfaction, “I had the main part.”
“You did?” I questioned, wondering why she thought that.
“Yes,” she said, “’cause I showed everybody how to find Jesus.”
How true! To show others how to find Jesus, to be the light for their paths, that is the finest role we can play in life.
THE CHILD'S NATIVITY
Have you ever watched a small child arrange the Christmas nativity set? If so, you know how children universally do it: Baby Jesus in the center, and all of the people and animals in a tight circle looking at him. Children understand that all the figures are there to look at Jesus, not to be seen of themselves.
By Nancy Jensen
By Nancy Jensen
The point of Christmas is the birth of Christ, the Wonderful Gift. Do our fun and exciting holiday traditions act as the child’s nativity figures, all directed at Baby Jesus? Or do they try to stand alone, as if they are there to be enjoyed of themselves?
Since school, community, and television programs usually will not focus on Christ, in our homes we must be sure to counterbalance their non-religious, we-don’t-want-to-offend-anybody programs. We need to be sure our families understand that our Christmas traditions are symbols of our relationship with Christ. We must be sure the shopping and partying and interior decorating contribute to our spiritual closeness to the Savior, rather than overshadow it. In our homes at Christmas, we need to be standing in that tight circle around the manger, gazing in wonder at the Baby Jesus.
(Nativity set arranged by Jacob Cutler, age 11. When his mom, my friend Ann Marie Cutler, saw it, she took a photo and sent it to me to illustrate this blog. Perfect, huh? Thanks, Ann!)
We hold an annual Nativity Festival in our ward. Whenever we let the children lend a hand in the initial setting up (before we come back and do it 'properly') this is what they do. The first time I saw it happen I was indescribably moved, and I continue to be amazed that this is what Every child will instinctively do Every Single Time. How strange and sad that it would never occur to us as adults to do it - that we have somewhere along the way grown out of this instinct into a preference for individuals to be seen of themselves.
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