If you’ve ever read, “The Best Christmas Pageant, Ever!” by Barbara Robinson, you’ll remember how the nativity was portrayed by the five Herdman children – the worst kids in town. The only reason they came to Sunday School was for the snacks.
I’ve directed this as a play and found it to be a story which portrays beautifully the best Christmas pagent ever. As with any casting process, the part of Mary is the most important to the girls along with angels. No one wants to be sheep. The boys are stuck with being wise guys, shepherds or the step father of Jesus, Joseph.
Gladys, the youngest of the Herdmans, wanted to play the part of the Angel of the Lord, because she figured it was the best part. After all – out of nowhere – there she was in the middle of everything – Shazam! Kind of like a super hero with magical powers.
It makes me wonder who was the Angel of the Lord anyway? How do you refer to this angel? Do you simply call her “Angel of the Lord.” Do you greet her by saying, “How’s it going, Angel of the Lord?”
As this story unfolds we see a little family who has been deserted by their father and their mother works two jobs to keep them alive. They are well known by the welfare department as well as the police and fire departments. This tight knit group of hooligans is bound together tightly and the Christmas story is new to them, but it kind of fits their lifestyle.
Jesus was born in a difficult time – in poverty – in a time in history filled with sin and corruption. His little family was cast aside by relatives, who thought Mary and Joseph had betrayed their premarital vows of chastity. They had no money, no one to turn to and yet they faithfully carried out the work God.
The tough little rabble rousers want to know all the details about the Christmas story and of course wanted to be the main characters. They even came to the manger carrying gifts – a ham given to them by a kind family was deposited in the manger with great care and honor. They understood what it was all about. Their childlike faith is what we should strive for as we enter this Christmas time.
Angels don’t speak to us today like they did before the Bible was actually written. I believe they are among us though. If you ever run into one, you may not realize who they are until after the fact. If they were to speak to us as the Angel of the Lord spoke to the shepherds, we’d sit up and take notice. Still I wonder what it would be like to talk to the Angel of the Lord.
Someday, I’ll get the chance.