This is the post I wanted to write in December but didn’t have time… Enjoy! 🙂
This year I’m prepared! No scrambling around at the last minute writing scripts and searching for the perfect song with mere weeks before the performance. No, sir! Not this year! I wrote this year’s program back in August. I decided to hit the easy button and write a script to go along with a pre-written choir cantata. That should cut down on a lot of confusion and work… at least in theory. Do you know how hard it is to write a story to go along with someone else’s playlist? Yikes! The mental gymnastics I had to undertake in order to string two songs together in some sort of logical way was worthy of an Olympic gold medal! After weeks of wrestling with the songs and storylines the Christmas program was finished. I wasn’t extremely happy with it, but it would do… I guess.
Fast forward to the beginning of November…I pull out my lack-luster script and read it again. Blah. What a dumb, cheesy, sappy story! I don’t even wanna WATCH a program like this one…much less DIRECT it and have to listen to these lines multiple times a week. My eyes are liable to get stuck they’ve rolled so far back in my head! What was I thinking writing such a thing?! There’s no way I can get motivated to do this Christmas program. Lord? What do I do? Then it hit me: I had tried to write something on my own that would work with any church without considering what God wanted me to write specifically for my church… Ooops… sorry, Lord… So, the week before Christmas program practice was supposed to start, I asked God for a script and He gave me one… and it was everything that other pitiful attempt was not. It fit perfectly with our people and we even had fun practicing together! Thank you, LORD!!!
Practices…whew! What a crazy time we had practicing for this Christmas program! Right before we started rehearsals God brought 16 children into our church through a new van ministry…and they ALL wanted to be in the program! Wouldn’t you know it…the story God gave me was extremely flexible and we were able to add 16 children to the program without any trouble at all. That is a miracle! The program was set to tell the story of Jesus’ birth from the animals’ perspective. We had a donkey, a mother hen, a dog, several sheep, and 16 mice. 🙂
Oh, what fun! We filled the stage with 10 large bales of hay…only to discover that many of us are allergic. The praise team was not amused… 🙂 One little mouse decided it would be fun to roll around in they hay on the night of the program but then he started itching. He was so desperate to get to the itch that he just about had his pants down around his ankles! One little girl wore sweater tights and a skirt (even though I had instructed the children to wear jeans) and ended up with severe static cling and hay covered legs. A couple of kids began poking one another right in the middle of the program. They were on the verge of a knock-down, drag-out and no one knew what to do with them. I was sitting on the front pew running lights and directing the singers when I heard the commotion. I calmly turned the spotlight down, lay my script on the seat beside me and walked on to the stage. I knelt down in front of the two offenders, placed my hands on their fists, turned on my teacher glare, and in my most formidable whisper threatened to end whatever they had just started. Their faces must have told the story as I turned around, smiled sweetly at the audience, sat back down, and went on with the rest of the program. 🙂 I am happy to report that no more skirmishes erupted in the manger scene. We did, have one more small incident… a young fella flipped off the back of one of the hay bales. He was not hurt, though, and thought it was so fun he would continue to flip off the hay bale until one of the men got a hold of him. I was not bothered by that though… it was better than him flipping off the audience…which is what the little fella did during our last program: flipped off the audience… twice… with both hands. Yeah… it could’a been worse.
It was definitely a crazy experience. And it was definitely from God! Those little mice/children were so thrilled to be in a “real” program with “real” costumes and lines. Their parents stepped inside the church- possibly for the first time ever- to watch their babies and hear the Gospel. Our creative team laughed more at practice than we have in a long time, drawing us closer together and uniting us in our ministry. Our community felt the love and genuine affection we have for them, their kids, and each other. And our church people were thrilled with the uniqueness of our presentation…something I had been worried about, since “uniqueness” could also mean “weirdness.” But one of our older ladies approached me afterwards with a true compliment. She said she had been to many programs over the years. She had heard beautiful choirs with orchestras and professional dramas with classy decorations and yet she still liked ours the very best of all because it was REAL. Praise the Lord! It was definitely the
best… worst…most INTERESTING Christmas program EVER! 🙂 And… here’s a link to the script in case you need a crazy script for your next Christmas program! 🙂“What If It Were Today” Script by Stephanie Shouse 2013