Based on a True Story
I don’t recall ever having an actual part in a Christmas program when I was young. I was always among the children assigned to “chorus”, with no name, and no costume. While it didn’t diminish my excitement with the pageantry and performance, I did somewhat covet the role of Mary. Dressed in a simple blue robe, the little girl assigned to that role got to lift the baby Jesus from the cradle and hold him through a song. It was a bit of a let down to learn it was just a doll wrapped in cloth, but it still seemed pretty great.
When my sons were in kindergarten, they did land parts. They were chosen to be cows in the nativity scene and to sing a verse of Hark the Herald Angels Sing in the church Christmas concert. It was an odd combination, but very cute. In that production, the role of Baby Jesus went to the infant son of one of the pastors and his wife. It was a definite upgrade from a toy Jesus, and certainly added an element of the unknown. How would the real baby handle the volume of the orchestra and the choir, and being in the arms of a stranger? His acting debut went off without a hitch, and again, it was pretty great.
The staging and characters vary, but there are generally the same elements. A stable. A crib with hay. A few cows and sheep. Shepherds and kings. Mary and Joseph. A baby. A bright star.
And an angel of the Lord appears saying:
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” Luke 2:10-12
This baby wasn’t a doll or a stand-in. He was the real deal. He was born because mankind needed a Savior. He came for you and for me. True story. And that is definitely great.