Tonight my dear, sweet wife and I will venture over to Phoenix to attend my grandson's Christmas program. I missed last year's presentation due to illness so I'm really looking forward to seeing and hearing Luke and his class tell the Christmas story.
Thinking about this reminded me of the first time that my sister and I participated in a children's Christmas program. I wonder if my sister remembers this? It's surprising that it wasn't the last Christmas program we ever participated in.
We were very excited to be assigned speaking parts. When we informed my Dad he had one bit of advice - "Speak loudly. People will want to hear you."
So we practiced speaking loudly. After a few minutes my Dad said, "That's good. You can stop now." I remember him saying something to my Mom about having a headache. He must have had a bad day at work.
Finally, the big day came. The church basement was packed. I couldn't remember seeing that many people in church on Sunday. Then we heard the music for "O Come All Ye Faithful." We marched up onto the stage and took our places. Then, the Spicer kids made the Christmas program memorable.
When it was my turn to speak I walked to the front of the stage with my Dad's advice ringing in my ears - "Speak loudly." So I did - I spoke loudly into the microphone!
By the time I had finished reciting my Bible verse my voice was ringing in everyone's ears! My Mom was the picture of embarrassment and I think my Dad had steam coming from his ears - a regular occurrence. After the sound of my voice stopped reverberating throughout the basement, some folks began to laugh. Then I became the picture of embarrassment.
A little later it was my sister's turn to speak. She was smaller than the previous speakers so she tried to lower the microphone.
But she pulled down so hard on the mic stand that the whole thing came tumbling down, hitting the stage with a loud BOOM! You would have thought that a bomb had been set off in the basement!
It scared my sister so much that she ran back to where her class was sitting, bawling her eyes out.
I think it was at that point that the Pastor went to his office to sign the letter of transfer for the Spicer family to attend another church...any church!
The car ride home that night was pretty quiet. I expected to get an earful from my Dad but he said nothing. Perhaps my Mom had said to him, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." So he said nothing. And I was kind of glad about that.
Having been a Pastor for awhile now I've seen all kinds of humorous things take place during children's Christmas programs. But, interestingly, I can't remember the details of any of them.
It's not the mistakes that are memorable. It's watching and listening to kids and grandkids tell the story of the birth of the Christ child. It's their confession of faith, that childlike faith that trusts Jesus completely. It's the joy they show as they sing about a silent night in Bethlehem. It's a story that we never get tired of hearing and the story sounds so sweet to our ears when we hear it told by the ones we love the most.
So I'm looking forward to Luke's program tonight. And I will offer him absolutely no advice about speaking loudly!