December has arrived and with it has come the snow. Winter has hit us early this year it seems.
As we hurtle towards another Christmas I find I am once again excited with a brand new little member of the family to buy for. Yet it barely seems five minutes since my own children were small and I was traipsing off to the round of nativity plays and pantomimes in which they each starred.
Oh those were indeed the days. I recall sitting almost doubled up with mirth as baby Jesus was lobbed into the audience from Mary’s lap during a particularly enthusiastic rendition of ‘Away in a Manger’. In the same scene a disorientated Mary tumbled from her perch in a cloud of blue chiffon and King Herod’s Guards yawned and resorted to doing unmentionable things to their noses while their mothers hissed at them from the wings.
I have seen Angels run off in tears and baby Jesus literally lose his head only to have it kicked into touch by a helpful shepherd.
I have witnessed my middle daughter dressed as the most reluctant shepherd you have ever seen because there were no more spaces for angels. (She so wanted to be an angel.)
I have been overcome with motherly pride as my youngest daughter led the singing of “We will Rock You” with gusto, nudging those children next to her with her elbows when she thought they weren’t performing and making their wire halos wobble in a most alarming fashion.
I’ve coaxed my eldest son into wearing red tights so that he can play Herod’s page and cajoled the youngest into staying awake long enough to carry the letter ‘C’ onto the stage where the class of two and three year olds were spelling out ‘Christmas’. He did this with all the aplomb a two year old can muster before putting his thumb in his mouth, sliding beneath the Christmas tree and falling asleep. (I think he was coming down with something!)
My eldest daughter once led the narration for her nativity play. The school had had the innovative idea of producing a play that had no script. As my daughter narrated, the actors ad-libbed their parts. This was working very well considering the age of the actors which averaged four and a half years.
The story reached the part where the Three Wise Men reach the stable. My daughter confidently narrated:
“The Three Wise Men arrived at the stable and knelt down to give Baby Jesus their gifts,”
On cue, the three wise men dropped to their knees and threw their gifts into the manger. It was evident that they were then to stand and talk amongst themselves for a bit. The ensuing silence was broken only by the sound of an over enthusiastic Shepherd making a premature entrance and being shooed off stage by helpful cast members.
As we waited expectantly, the bravest of the three wise men took the show in hand, piping up in a small gruff voice,
“Well, it was worf comin’ all this way then were’n it?”
His ad-lib stole the show.
That’s a little how I feel as we approach the festive season and I look back on those long gone days and forward to Christmases that are to come.
It has definitely been worth coming all this way!