The shepherds were a motley crew – some tall, some small and some looking a little bedraggled in borrowed bathrobes-turned-shepherd garb.
One of the angels lost her garland halo and Joseph got fidgety waiting for the end of the story, so he decided to test out his gymnastics abilities on the church altar railing.
Two nights later, Joseph turned himself into a reindeer and, along with his other little classmates, brought a smile to the faces of those who packed the school gymnasium for the annual Christmas concert.
These were the scenes played out in churches and school auditoriums across this province in the past week, as the days count down to that most special day of the whole year – Christmas Day.
The gift these children give us, through their childish innocence and enthusiasm, is the reminder of what Christmas is, or should be, all about.
It’s not about perfection, or who has the best. It’s not about spending more money than you should, or having a showcase everything-in-its-place home for guests.
Christmas is a feeling, a spirit that works its way into your soul. It’s a thought no matter what has gone before, or what lies ahead, life will bring you moments to treasure.
This is not supposed to be a season of stress and worry. It was meant to be a time of peace, love and understanding.
We all need a little grounding every now and then, a gentle nudge to remind us of the truly important things in life. The Christmas concerts and church pageants give us more than entertainment value; they give us a sense of community.
These little children are able to accomplish a most extraordinary feat – the ability to entice crowds of people to step aside from the hustle and bustle of their mad dash through life, to pay attention to a message that often gets lost in a confused and worried world.
Over 2,000 years ago a little child, Jesus, was born into the most humble of lives. He was born in a stable, to parents who were neither wealthy, nor powerful, and He gave the world hope for a better tomorrow.
Events of this past year have caused many to wonder and worry about their futures. Each night television screens flicker with images of conflict and unrest around the world. Closer to home, people are wondering what to do with the knowledge their jobs are no more.
And even in the most blessed of homes, life is not without worry and challenge.
No matter what happens to us – collectively or individually – we can rest assured in the knowledge as long as the sun continues to rise and set and days turn to weeks, months and years, there will always be a Christmas Day.
And as long as there are children’s voices to fill school auditoriums with words and songs, and to dress as shepherds, angels and wise men for the church pageants, there will always be hope.
Best wishes to each and every one of you for a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful, healthy and happy New Year.
Barbara Dean-Simmons, Associate Managing Editor
Transcontinental, NL Weeklies