My grandson, who is now nine years, old performed yesterday with his third grade classmates in a Christmas program for parents and grandparents. As I took my seat, my first thoughts were of how quickly these nine years have passed. My heart filled with emotion requiring great restraint on my part. When my heart is full, tears are not far behind. I always come prepared with a hanky and sometimes give myself a talk before coming to my grandchildren's performances. There is nothing that touches my heart more deeply than the faces of my three grandchildren and nothing make my heart swell more with joy than hearing them quoting or singing scriputre and sharing what they have learned about God's love.
The singing began and of course I was focused on my special boy. A pleasant surprise, an old spiritual,"Mary Had a Baby, Yes, Lord," which was a familiar tune for me, as I used this same song in my kindergarten Christmas program each year when I was teaching. When my grandson took his recorder to his lips to play this familiar tune along with about 50 other third graders, my mind took me back to the first Mary and Joseph of my kindergarten Christmas pageant days. They were clad in bathrobes and head scarves and carrying the baby doll from our class home center.They sat as still as possible for five year olds while their classmates sang these same familiar words, "Mary had a baby, Yes Lord... Mary had a baby, Yes my Lord."
Back to the perfomance before me, my eyes scanned the faces of the children standing before me and came to rest again on the face of my grandson. My heart is so full of hope and filled with dreams for his future happiness. It seems just yesterday we observed his first Christmas as an infant.
They wrapped him, my grandson, in swaddling clothes, as he was chosen to be the baby Jesus in the Christmas pageant at our church. We wondered how he would fare when the grown up Mary and Joseph, in robes and head scarves carried him onto the stage for a few brief moments to bring reality to the story of the Christ child of Bethlehem. Would he cry out or would they manage to keep him at peace until his part in the drama was finished? What an honor to have the opportunity one's first Christmas in the world to play the part of baby Jesus!
I don't remember everything that was said during the program yesterday but I do remember the word "Peace" used repeatedly throughout. Boys and girls, some confident, some struggling to get it right, recited verses of scripture about the kind of peace Jesus promised us in His Word. It is not the kind of peace the world gives. It is a supernatural peace that only comes in knowing the Savior, Jesus Christ. It was promised on the night that Jesus was born as the angels announced His birth to the shepherds in the fields that night. Peace on earth... good will to men. He will keep that man, woman, boy and girl in perfect peace whose mind and heart are focused on Him.
I would not be realistic to think that my grandson will never face grave situations in this life nor that his life would be void of trials or suffering. Just as Mary faced the future suffering of her own son, I must face the reality that we live in a fallen world and my grandchildren will face hardships and difficulties.
As I think back on the performance yesterday, I have an assurance that no matter what may come our way as a family and no matter the obstacles my grandson may face, the supernatural peace of the Lord Jesus are eternal and we have the promise of the angels... Peace on earth and good will to all men, women,boys and girls.
The third graders surrounded us at the end of the program and sang a blessing over us, their parents and grandparents... "Go Now in Peace.. Go Now in Peace. "The sound of the children's voices sounded almost angelic. As they pronounced this blessing over us in song, I saw the faithful message of the gospel carried out in all the years of Christmas pageants and programs flowing from one generation to the next. The message of God's love and peace never ends. It began in Bethlehem and it flows through the years and through the generations of parents and grandparents to their children and grandchildren. It is eternal... for "Mary had a baby." Go now in peace.....