Blessing at the Stable that Wasn’t Seen

By Sister Ardyce Nordeen

We had been at it for almost an hour and a half, five or six adults, about fifteen children and me. Our project was to video record a nativity pageant for a broadcast production. I wanted the segment to last about five or six minutes, but true to form, it was taking ten times that long to get it on tape. Not that the kids were misbehaving; it was just a factor of the technology involved and the “staging” of the groups of five-to-ten-year olds who were really ready for a snack break. Oh, and a beautiful ten-week-old baby boy who’d had just about enough camera time for one night.

Since we were not recording sound, I could talk to the children from the sidelines as they got into place. I’d say things like, “Shepherds, get in close to the manger,” or “Angels, remember to smile; this is a happy time.” I reminded the three kings to look at the baby before they laid down their gifts and coached them to kneel because they were wise and knew that this baby was Jesus, the Messiah, the Savior of the world.

At one point, as the children were waiting in line to go on yet again, I found myself telling them that the people who saw the newborn Prince of Peace that night had had to wait for Him a long time, too. And then, since I’m a teacher, I went on to say that we are waiting for Him again, but this time He won’t come as a baby and everyone will bow down before Him. They looked at me without saying anything for several seconds, and then we went back to our recording session.

Finally, we called it “done” and I told the children to take off their costumes and leave them on the tables before they left. One boy, who’d been one of the kings, handed me his too-large purple robe and said, “We were there.” I pointed behind him to our set and said, “You mean over there?” “No,” he replied, “I mean we were really there. Like a little part of those people came down in us, so I was really there, like a king, bowing down.”

I remembered how still he’d been as he was kneeling in front of our young Mary and the baby. And in that instant, I knew! This hadn’t just been a video-recording session for him; for a few fleeting moments, his Spirit had felt the awe of that Holy Night. He knew in his heart the wonder of worship at the feet of the Master!

How amazing! I thought we were only recording some adorable children for the families of the Church to enjoy watching.   But God meant it for a moment of witness and assurance in at least one child’s life. And in mine. What a mighty God we serve!