“You who bring good news to Zion, go up on a high mountain. You who bring good news to Jerusalem, lift up your voice with a shout, lift it up, do not be afraid; say to the towns of Judah, “Here is your God!”Isaiah 40:9
Once upon a time Eastminster teenagers celebrated the Christmas holidays with a hayride for the Jr. High and another for the Sr. High students. It always started the December festivities off on a fun note. Then came the planning for the rest of the month…Are we going to make Christmas gifts or food one weekend? With thoughts of what we could do for others the rest of the month. Mrs. Santa Claus needed runners to deliver food baskets or maybe the church needed extra helpers for the holidays. It was fun to give of our time to help others, especially when you do so and enjoy your friends at the same time. We helped decorate the sanctuary, cleaned up the grounds, and began to think about the “big one!” the “Tableau,” as the reenactment of the Nativity scene was called.
Now this was kind of scary to think you had to put yourself out in the spotlight in the side yard of the original manse while people were watching. The scene had to be set with a few bales of hay, some wood to appear as a manger, a spotlight to shine on the whole scene and some costumes, wigs, a stool or two and a little holder for a baby, and a Baby!! Now this was the hardest part because no teenager wants you to think they might have a babydoll in their house! The recorder was plugged into an extension cord, the record of the music and words spoken was found and we were ready to go!
Everyone had to agree to take a turn at being something. We needed shepherds, sheep, Mary, Joseph, an Angel, and any have items anyone could think of bringing. We would set the time, usually from maybe 6 to 8 o’clock, we would take turns with the costumes and characters. And what characters they were! Once they had taken a turn doing a part, they all became actors and added all sorts of hand, arm, and facial expressions. Cars on the road would all slow down and try to listen, many of them turning onto riverside lane. By the next year, the old pros would argue over when and how long they could do their part. For example: the lovely angel who stood on a stool should have been acting like a statue. But instead would look down on the nativity scene and talk to them about taking better care of the baby, etc. Sometimes even waving at the crowds if someone recognized them. It was all in good fun and made for a lovely evening with little preparation and lots of cookies afterwards. If the weather was too cold or wet, we canceled that evening. If it was just jacket cold, the play went on! Life was pretty simple back then, but the message came across loud and clear. It was the Birth of Christ!