‘Low-stress’ nativity play
|Photo by Brian Wallace.|
appeals to families
An Advent blessing for the Rev. Cheryl Enders is facilitating the “low-stress” Nativity play at Bexley (Ohio) United Methodist Church.
About 40 children dramatize Luke’s story at the Christmas Eve Manger Service attended by families with small children, grandparents and anyone else who wants to experience the noise and confusion of the First Christmas. Crying babies, wiggly toddlers and pacing parents set the stage for the telling of Jesus’ birth.
The “low-stress” play appeals to busy families. The single 45-minute rehearsal is on Christmas Eve morning. There are no parts to memorize. Children simply walk into place as Enders reads the story from the Bible.
Parts are chosen in advance. Children can bring their own costumes or pick one from the church’s wardrobe department. “We have 35 angel costumes,” Enders said.
Once costumed for rehearsal, the children pose for individual photos. Then they pray together and walk through the story twice. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.
All of the girls want to be Mary and none of the boys wants to be Joseph, Enders said, but they negotiate. A baby less than 3 months old is invited to be Jesus. A blanket-covered car seat is the manger.
The “low-stress” Nativity play has become a popular tradition. “The first Baby Jesus is now 14 years old,” Enders said with a laugh.
—Adapted from an article in West Ohio News by the Rev. Cheryl Enders