Christmas in the Field
What is it about Children's Christmas Programs that are so compelling? This year our Children's Ministry Director staged the program in the Oak Grove between the sanctuary and the parsonage, the path I walk through several times each day. Some guys from church erected a creche, covered it with palm leaves and surrounded it with hay bales. Lights were strung in the trees and chairs were set out on the dirt. It was cold for Santa Barbara. People came bundled up with knit hats, gloves and blankets. You'd thing we were at Lambeau field in December! And then the children came out dressed as sheep, angels, shepherds, wise men, donkeys and cattle. They were totally into their parts in spite of the cold. They sang carols with loud voices and knew all their lines. This was serious business for them. As I watched one little angel on the far right of the scene; when she sang, she was looking around and up, maybe for the angels she was singing about. It was a magic moment. We loved being together in the cold.
Then we all gathered in the outdoor patio for hot chocolate and cider and cookies with the fireplace roaring and the overhead heaters on full-blast. Parents were clearly happy and proud while the children ran around with ever-increasing speed due to the sugar-buzz we had just given them. Maybe now at 8:30 some parents are breathing curses for how the evening hyped up their kids, but I don't think it's many. We saw our angels the right way, outdoors under the stars and the cool night air.