Grandpa and I walked into the warm worship center at my grandma’s and grandpa’s church. The smell of cinnamon and an “old church smell” hit my nose. People were chattering excitedly, candles were glowing, and it was lightly snowing outside.
The scene filled me with anticipation and excitement. Ever since I was a young child I had come here every year to see the Nativity play. I smiled and soaked in the moment.
Grandpa and I took our coats off and took our seats in the middle of all the rows. We only needed two seats since Grandma was the proud director and pianist for the play.
As we waited for the play to begin, my mind couldn’t help but wander back to the conversation I had just had a few hours ago with my little brother Benny. What had he meant by, “I don’t look for the angels”? Hadn’t I been asking God to show me a sign, to help me get through this hard season of life, and to show me how to prepare for whatever was coming?! In fact, I had asked God for as long as I could remember to reveal Himself to me and to show me He cared for me. Where was He and why didn’t He ever answer my prayers?
Suddenly, I remembered something Benny had told me earlier that year when I had broken my arm. It had been the first full day I had had my arm in a cast, and I was heartbroken over the fact that I was not going to be able to finish my volleyball season.
Benny had climbed up on the couch next to me and had given me a hug. When I had wiped my eyes and nose, Benny had asked me why I was sad. I told him why and that is when Benny had said it. Benny turned to me and said, “I am sorry you can’t play volleyball anymore. Do you want to hear a Bible verse we learned at church?”
I had said “yes” and then Benny recited it perfectly for me, “My grace is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” The verse had thrown me so off guard that later I had looked up the entire passage.
Now, sitting in this little country church, in the suburbs of New York state, the words from the verse seemed to ring in my ears declaring, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Suddenly the lights dimmed in the auditorium and my attention was snapped back to reality. Grandma confidently and flamboyantly walked onto the stage and began to speak, “Welcome, everyone, to the annual Royal Hearts Christian Church’s Christmas pageant!”
Everyone clapped and then Grandma opened with a prayer. When she had finished, she exclaimed, “Enjoy the show! And remember, this is the night when Jesus became flesh and dwelt among us.” My heart dropped at her words and I tried to push away the thoughts that seemed to grab me. Everyone was applauding again, and then Grandma walked quickly off stage and sat down at the piano that was off stage to the right.
Grandpa smiled at me. I forced a smile back, and then the play began.
The play began with the angel appearing to Mary and telling her she was going to be the mother of Jesus, the Savior of the world. Then Joseph found out, the taxes were due, and they made the long trek to Bethlehem. They, of course, couldn’t find any room in the inn, so they had to stay in a stable where Jesus was born.
The whole time I sat watching in misery as I kept thinking about how badly I wanted to hear from God myself and how all I wanted was a peace of mind about my parents. Was that too much to ask for?!
Then came the moment Grandpa and I had been waiting for. Out came Oliver and Benny with all the other shepherds and sheep. Oliver looked proud as a peacock to be a shepherd, and when I shifted my gaze to look at Benny, it truly did look like he was seeing something no one else was seeing. He sat contently on the stage with a small smile on his face, looking joyfully at something before him. His eyes then shifted to an older girl, who had stepped forward to speak:
“Nearby there were shepherds keep watching over their flock by night, when suddenly a multitude of angels appeared to them.”
The shepherds began to scream out of fear on stage and then a boy playing another angel spoke, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.”
I glanced over at Oliver who was smiling at the angel. Then I snuck another look at Benny. I couldn’t believe it; Benny was mouthing every word the boy angel was saying! My amazement turned into aggravation and that aggravation turned into anger. How could Benny, my little brother, seem to be so in love with the words that were being spoken by the angel?!
My anger at Benny slowly turned into anger at myself. How could I think these terrible things about him? How could I let my emotions ruin a moment like this?
I took a deep breath, tried to shake off the emotions, and focused on the words that were now being spoken by the angel.
The girl angel was speaking again and was saying, “Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel and began praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.'”
Grandma began to play the piano and all the children began to sing Gloria. It was cute, adorable and everything in between, and yet my heart and mind were no longer with them nor were they in the Christmas spirit anymore. All I could think and wonder about was my future, why God wasn’t showing up, and why my brother could see angels and I couldn’t.
To Be Continued…(2 Corinthians 2:9-10)
0 comments on “A Turn of Events: Chapter 4”