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 Pastor's Pen 
Saturday, December 02 2017
The Christmas Play

The Value of the Christmas Play

Things have changed; mostly for the better.  Church Christmas plays these days often enjoy the benefits of advanced sound, lighting and costuming as the Season rolls around.  But remember with me the wonder of those early efforts to re-tell the old, old story of the birth of Christ. 

Who would get to be the shepherds and wise men this year? What treasures would be brought down from the attic to serve as gold, frankincense and myrrh? Do we dare try to use live animals this year? Who will build the sets? And how about new costumes since last year's mildewed in storage? And can't we get a more realistic angel costume? 

But the one casting decision on everyone's mind was always Mary. The Baby was most often a doll cleverly disguised in swaddling clothes and lying in this year's homemade manger filled with hay.  Joseph never had any lines to memorize and mutter. But Mary; young, beautiful, holy and chosen, Mary. 

Whom do we have of that stature and reputation?? And who can carry her grand and profound speaking parts? Whose voice projects well enough to be heard on the back row?

There was always someone.  But not once did a young girl flounce onto the stage wearing the costume and the part as a badge. Without exception, the enormity of the part subdued even the budding actress among us. It was always difficult to get them to speak forcefully the wonder-filled lines as the Virgin realized the task to which God had assigned her. The cheeks of many a young maiden glistened with tears as ancient yet familiar words from the heart of Mary burst from their lips: 

"My soul doth magnify the lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed."

No. We didn't have the benefit of modern technology. But somehow, bathrobes became authentic Jewish garments. Faux angel wings glistened with the dew of Heaven. And Mary once again touched the hearts of true believers with her complete surrender to the will of God.  Somehow authentic shepherds found the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger while angel choirs sang,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men!"

Might it have been more professionally done? Of course! But could it have been more meaningful to the participants? Not in a million years! We needed that moment of empathy with the characters of the Nativity in order for them to come off the pages of the Bible and into our hearts. 

That is the true value of church Christmas plays, at least in the heart of this older pastor. Hopefully, such productions will continue year after year for the next generation to whom we will one day pass the torch of Faith. 

Fondly remembering,


Richard Orrell

Posted by: Pastor Rich Orrell AT 06:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
    Battlefield Assembly of God
    5154 S. State HWY FF  | Battlefield, MO 65619 | PH: (417) 882-1116  |