Some years things go really smoothly – the kids are excited, the music comes together and rehearsals just flow – like last year.
This year – however – is not.
Yesterday’s rehearsal was a classic example. We had taken the program on stage with costumes and props for the first time.
Except we didn’t have a manger or a baby Jesus.
Or the boxes of Christmas decorations the kids were supposed to be sorting.
Or the plates of cookies they were supposed to be packaging.
And we were missing two shepherds.
But those things hadn’t stopped us before – so we pushed on. That’s when things started to unravel.
Augustus Caesar really got into his part. He jumped up and down so emphatically that his plastic crown unhooked and flew off his head. You should have seen the look on his face when his crown went flying through the air -priceless!
We had barely stopped laughing from that blunder when the next happened.
One little “angel” was supposed to say “Shh..listen!” to another character – who happened to be her brother. She whispered her line so softly I could barely hear it in the front row. I told her she could do better than that – this was her chance to tell her older brother what to do!
So she threw back her shoulders, marched all 3 feet of sweet petite herself across the stage to her over 5 foot tall brother – whacked him with both hands on the chest and yelled, “Shhh…listen would ya!”
It was so unexpected we burst out laughing!
Joseph managed to tie his bathrobe in knots – on stage, our “stand in” baby Jesus got stepped on (remember – no manger!), and Caesar lost his sword.
Then there were the new angels wings that looked really cute but left a trail of glitter everywhere. And I do mean everywhere – carpet, chairs, clothes, hair, even eyebrows.
(I publicly apologize to whoever the poor soul is who volunteered to clean the church this month.)
Then – to top it all – Joseph managed to get the wind knocked out of him with a shepherd’s crook.
When the carnage was complete I walked off the stage and saw a sweet elderly lady who had recently suffered a stroke, sitting in the second row wiping tears from her eyes. She had obviously watched the entire rehearsal.
I whispered, “That was sure rough wasn’t it!”
She whispered back, forming the words slowly, “Funny, so funny!”
That was just the perspective I needed.
It isn’t about perfection – it’s about blessing. Those kids – in all their imperfections and mistakes – were a blessing yesterday.
And no matter what happens the night of the program – they will be a blessing.
Whether they get their lines right – or remember the songs – or trip over their angelic robes.
I think it’s time for me to change my prayers from, “Lord help them remember their lines and the songs and do it all well…” to “Lord take our efforts and bless them – use them for Your glory…”
Make us a blessing, Lord.