O Come, All Ye Faithful

December 13, 2015
by Isabel Allison

Ever since I was a youngster on the platform in our one-room, country school, along with about twelve children of varied ages and grades, I have enjoyed Christmas pageants.

At the age of ten or eleven, I was the chosen angel Gabriel, and wore the new, white flannelette nightgown that my mother had made. To it had been added a tinsel necklace to match the halo laid on my hair. Onto the platform that our fathers had built, came Mary. I held my hand outstretched and high as I announced to Mary, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High." (Luke 1:30-32a NIV)

Then, those on stage and those behind a side curtain awaiting their times to come on, along with a mother or two, one also playing the piano (teacher's helpers), we all sang, "Gentle Mary laid her Babe, lowly in a manger… ." Joseph came close to Mary as she laid a formerly-concealed, snugly-wrapped, little doll into a cross-legged wooden manger. Then Mary and Joseph sat behind the manger on a little bench as we sang, "Away in a manger, no crib for a bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head… ."

Shepherds (my brothers among them), dressed in long tunics fashioned from rough, brown grain sacks, arrived on the steps to the stage, and knelt facing the baby. Standing, they spoke excitedly something like this, alternating, in paraphrase of Scripture. Said one, "We were shepherds living out in the fields nearby." Said another, "Keeping watch over our flocks at night." Said the third, "An angel of the Lord (I step forward fast to show my presence) appeared to us, and the glory of the Lord (flashlights glow) shone around us, and we were terrified. But the angel said to us," (With both arms extended high, I cut in) "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." (Luke 2:10-12).

Another two or three angels in white joined Gabriel, and the tallest shepherd spoke: "Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying," (All the children join in loudly) "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests" (Luke 2:13-14). Then we all sang verses of "While shepherds watched their flocks by night all seated on the ground, the angel of the Lord came down and glory shone around… ."

Then, singing, "We three kings of Orient are, bearing gifts we traverse afar…", three wise men appeared in the most colourful of dressing gowns, asking, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him" (Matthew 2:2). As the wise men knelt by the manger, we all sang,

    Then entered in those wise men three,
    Full reverently on bended knee,
    And offered there in his presence
    Their gold and myrrh and frankincense.

    Then let us all, with one accord,
    Sing praises to our heavenly Lord,
    That has made heaven and earth of nought,
    And with his blood mankind has bought.

The wise men set their large, brightly-coloured gifts in front of the manger.

We climaxed with the audience joining in, on our invitation, to sing with us, verses of "O come, all ye faithful".

Today, the thoughts of those pageants, differing every year, have drawn me, and, I hope, you, too, into profound and wholesome worship.

Prayer: O Lord, accept our worship and praise from hearts touched by Your glory. "All glory be to God on high, and to the earth be peace; good-will henceforth from heaven to men begin, and never cease!" Yes, Lord, may we never cease to feel and offer that profound and wholesome worship. Thank You, Lord. Amen.

About the author:

Isabel Allison <allisonisabel@mymts.net>
Roland, Manitoba, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Precious memories Isabel. Thanks for sharing.


    Isabel
    Thanks for the wonderful devotional today.


    Thank you for sharing this with the rest of us.
    God Bless you!


    Isabel, this devotional brought back so many memories. Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    I too remember being in those pageants. What a witness they were to others. Blessings as you witness now!


    Thank you Isobel, a special word picture and message.
    I take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a peaceful and happy 2016.


    Dear Isabel:
    Thank you for sharing that wonderful story. I could actually picture in my mind. I’m sure God still smiles when He remembers it too.
    God bless you and a very joyous Christmas.


    Oh what memories, both as a participant and in the later years as a “leader”. There were the pressures, the funny moments, the glow on the faces of the family members in the audience. The real beginning for the Christmas season. How precious the memories. Thank YOU!!


    Good Morning, Your writing of the Christmas Concert in the days of rural schools brought tears to my eyes – and memories flooded back to those days! The true meaning of Christmas to rural communities – who celebrated the true meaning of “community” – with all sharing in the celebrations of the birth of Jesus in the lowly manger.
    My thanks and may God’s Blessings be on you and your family.
    (B.C.)


    Thank you for your words.


    Thank you for your devotional contribution for December 13th.
    It brought to mind many memories of concerts and pageants past.
    Merry Christmas.

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