Our church is a smaller church, and the presentation was very humble. We had a meager budget, but made the most of what we had. Nearly everyone was involved - from the prayer team to the production itself to the refreshments that followed. The local press showed up (here are 2 of the photos that were taken). It was outdoors and attracted many passers-by. The script was taken right from Scripture. The music was fantastic. The animals all behaved well!
I helped with costumes and was amazed at how terrific everyone looked (of course, it was dark!!) At Thursday's dress rehearsal, we wondered how we'd pull this off. It seemed we were just a bunch of ragamuffins. The pouring rain forced us to practice indoors, and there were many children who needed the experience outside. But when the nights came - from setup to cleanup - the gospel was shared in a beautiful way.
I reflected on how two shows could present the same story so beautifully, yet so differently. We have all been given individual gifts from God that are to be used for the "common good". In other words, the gifts that God gives us are to be used for the benefit of others. If we neglect to share the gift we have been given, others will be affected. I have one gift, you have another. No gift is superior to any other. I greatly appreciated the extravagant presentation, but in truth I preferred our humble one. Perhaps it's because I witnessed our weaknesses, I saw God greatly glorified. Maybe it was just the simple telling (and singing) of the greatest story ever told without embellishment. We often think we need more money or more talents, but really, it is the simplest that is the sweetest.
If you are like me, you have been shopping, searching to find the "perfect" gift for friends and loved ones. Some will be extravagant, others humble. But in the giving and receiving of gifts this Christmas, let us keep in the forefront of our minds, the greatest Gift ever given - which was both humble and extravagant. Let us remember with appreciation the gifts He has given us, and not leave them unwrapped and unused. Let us give glory to the Giver of the gifts!
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights." James 1:17