A few days before Christmas, Eliza decided our family should reenact the Nativity. She was an angel during the Children’s Nativity at church and it must have sparked her creativity.
Sunday evening, after putting Eliza to bed, I noticed light shooting out from under her door. I heard drawers closing, her closet door opening. She was up to something. But I didn’t interrupt. 10 minutes later the light switched off. When I went to check on her, she couldn’t stop chattering about her plan.
The floor was covered in outfits. Five of them. Carefully chosen. All from her own wardrobe, dress-ups box and closet. They would be our Nativity costumes. Each of us would have a special part.
Baby Jesus lay swaddled from the previous night, sleeping on her green pillow. Eliza would be Mary. Red skirt, blue shirt, white scarf. Daddy would be Joseph. Sparkly silver robe with Eliza’s red cowboy hat to accent. (I love how it is balanced perfectly on top of his head.)
I would be the Angel – pink fairy wings, pink fairy head-thing, gold material to swathe in, and a star wand to hold over the manger.
Ali and Sami would have multiple roles to perform. Wisemen and Shepherds. But they couldn’t be Wise Men, Eliza noted. They had to be “wise men in dresses” or “wise princesses.” (They were so scantily clad they looked more like sprites from A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream than they did Royalty.) And part way through they were to ditch their gifts for staffs and stuffed sheep!
Spencer and Gordon (she hadn’t forgotten them) would be sheep. But she didn’t have costumes for them. Just their fuzzy pj’s.
So we gathered “backstage” Monday evening. (Eliza had waited all day!) We were given a few sparse instructions. The rest was on the fly. Impromptu!
The whole thing was a complete riot. I held the camera (video-ing) in one hand, the Bible in the other, as I read from Luke 2.
And Joseph went up to Bethlehem…with Mary, his espoused wife, who was great with child…
As I read aloud, I heard a squeaking noise. I saw the top of Eliza’s head (donned with white scarf) bobbing behind the couch. Suddenly she emerged, riding Rody, our orange hoppity horse. Her knees were nearly knocking her chin as she schoochied along. Boing, boing, boing…until she arrived at the manger.
I was laughing so hard the camera was shaking all over the place. Above the squeaking I heard Doug whisper, “Now that’s labor inducing…” I could barely get control. We laughed so hard.
It was our first Nativity. Tumultuous. Comical. And a tad irreverent (with Eliza directing us to our spots every few seconds, some fighting over baby Jesus, and a little bit of pushing).
But it was also beautiful. Sacred. Sweet.
I love that Eliza wanted to do this all on her own. I love how she held baby Jesus. I love that she put so much of her heart and imagination into the telling of this magical story. The Nativity story is one we never tire of hearing. Or telling.
Later I watched the video and looked at our pictures. Holding my star above this scene of family, garbed in our feeble attempt at mirroring the blessed event, I thought of these words,
‘Twas the night of our dear Savior’s birth… Long lay the world in sin and error pining… ‘Til he appeared and the soul felt its worth.
Because of Him I see the great worth of my children’s souls. For this reason we reenact the Nativity. My husband wears his daughter’s cowboy hat. And I drape gold material over my running clothes to her delight. “You look beautiful Mommy!”
I see the worth of my husband’s soul, all souls. Even mine.
Oh Blessed Holy Night.