Saturday, December 17, 2011

The First Noel

This afternoon, we are headed back to the church for the Children's Christmas play.  And it ought to be ... interesting.

We have a simple script and a few favorite carols to sing together with the families of our shepherds and wise men (correction:  wise guy and two wise gals).  The whole shebang won't last longer than twenty minutes.  But I'm still curious to see it all come together.

In the course of our rehearsals each week during Children's Church, it has been a bit like herding cats.  Once we get one little shepherd up on his feet and together with the rest of the throng, we look over and another shepherd has crawled under the table in an effort to hide.  The soldiers who march in with Caesar Augustus are more of the wiggling and waltzing type.  We might have to velcro them to the throne to keep them standing still.  We are hoping our angel finds his voice (his brothers assure me he has one) because I don't remember the angel from Luke whispering his glorious announcement.  And as for the narrators, I have my fingers crossed that they will be able to follow along with the action of the play and keep our momentum up.  Or at least know what page we're on.

On that First Noel, God had an equally eclectic cast to work with.

A young and meek girl to fill the role of mother of Jesus.
An older but still uncertain carpenter to play the husband and father.
A newborn baby to be the King of Israel.
A host of angels to make the announcement.
A rag-tag bundle of shepherds to be the first worshippers.
A band of mysterious wise men with gifts.

And us.

The song, "The First Noel", is the like the script that each player followed.  Can you find your role?

The First Noel
The First Noel, the Angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay keeping their sheep
On a cold winter's night that was so deep.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

They looked up and saw a star
Shining in the East beyond them far
And to the earth it gave great light
And so it continued both day and night.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

And by the light of that same star
Three Wise men came from country far
To seek for a King was their intent
And to follow the star wherever it went.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

This star drew nigh to the northwest
O'er Bethlehem it took its rest
And there it did both Pause and stay
Right o'er the place where Jesus lay.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

Then entered in those Wise men three
Full reverently upon their knee
And offered there in His presence
Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel! 

Then let us all with one accord
Sing praises to our heavenly Lord

That hath made Heaven and earth of nought
And with his blood mankind has bought.
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel
Born is the King of Israel!

See.  I made it easy for you.  It's those bold lines.

I acknowledge feeling a little anxiety about this afternoon's play.  I don't think we'll have anything as exciting as when the Herdmen's took over "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever", but there's always the possibility for something unexpected.

God, on the other hand, directed that first Christmas knowing exactly how each role would be played. There were no surprises.

He knew Mary would embrace this life-changing event.  He knew Joseph would waver, but be strong in the end. He knew that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem.  In a stable.  With the livestock.  He knew that the shepherds, the folks on the fringe of society, would be quick to follow the angel's directions and find the Messiah first.  And He also knew they would be exuberant in sharing the news with everyone they met.  God knew that the wise men would follow that new star all the way to Bethlehem.  He also knew the gifts they would bring and that they would each point to Jesus' divinity.

And He knows you.  He knows your heart ... your hopes and your dreams.  And your worries and your fears.  But you still have a role.  Are you ready to do your part?

Let us all together sing praises to our heavenly Lord!


On a different note, a mom friend here in GJ is participating in the Kohl's Love to Give, Happy to Save Contest.  Pop over to the Facebook page here, and vote for Jenn and Iron Will.  Another wonderful gift this Christmas ... for hundreds of kids and their families!  And Oh, So Easy!!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry I had to miss the play, but am encouraged by your closing words, that we still have a role to play. Amazed that God chooses to work through us to accomplish his purposes in spite of our fears and trembling.


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