One of my favorite things to do when teaching children Bible stories is role play. The old adage, ‘kids say the darndest things’ is true for a reason. Recently, we were doing a Christmas production in a friend’s home using some simple dramatic conventions to tell the story of Christ’s birth. Afterwards, Samson, the four-year old of the house said that he wanted to play a part of the story. So, I dressed him up as the shepherd and I played the angel (typecasting) and we set out to recreate the scene when the angel appears to the shepherd. We gathered some makeshift props like the dog playing the sheep, which was harder to control and a mop handle for a staff. Then lights, camera and action! Samson acted afraid when the angel appeared. He showed surprise at the angel’s announcement and then wonder at the good news. Then….scene change. We traveled across the living room to the kitchen where Mary and Joseph were with the child in a stable. We recruited a couple of innocent bystanders eating cheese and crackers and grabbed a paper plate for the manger. The closest thing we could find to play the baby was a stuffed teddy bear. But no questions were asked as we entered the scene. I led him to the place with the line, So the shepherd said, ‘let’s go see this thing that the angel spoke of. When the shepherds arrived at the place where the baby laid, they bowed down. Samson took his cues perfectly. Sometimes, I like to give the kids a chance to adlib to see if they really understand what is going on in the scene as opposed to being directs as to what to say. So, I said, “And the shepherd said…..” Without lifting his gaze from the ‘manger’ he nodded and sweetly said, “Praise God.”
Wow. That’s it isn’t it? May the wonder and awe of Christmas surprise you with a greater revelation of the wonderful gift of God this Christmas.