Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Program Stories

This post is inspired by a prompt from Reflections of a Mother's Heart
The prompt was "Have you ever been in a Christmas program?"

I feel like an upside down bumble bee!”

When I think of Christmas programs, I am often reminded of one from early on in my childhood. We attended Bethany UMC in North Canton. One small boy got up to say his part and promptly forgot it. What came out was, “I feel like an upside down bumble bee.

The auditorium was filled with laughter. While it probably was not all that funny to him, this story, to me, is what children’s programs are about. Letting the children get up, do their part, and feel a part of the church.

Sometimes, nay usually, everything doesn’t go perfectly. But it brings joy to each of us and it connects all the church together. It’s a chance for adults to get to know the children, to watch them grow up year by year. It also is the beginning process for maturity and learning to speak publicly. My belief is that the sooner you get up and speak in front of people, the easier it will be to do it as an adult.

For me this training began further back than I can remember. I do know that we did a Christmas program at church every year  AND another one at school every year. My first memory would be around the 4th grade at North Nimishillen Elementary when I was asked to sing a solo, “Shake Me I Rattle”. It’s a beautiful song about a little girl who wanted a doll she saw in the store window. The onlooker, buys the doll for her. That song has always had a special place in my heart.

Another program that has remained in my memories was in the 8th grade. It was a program at First Reformed Church in Randolph, WI. Again, I was asked to sing. The program was about trying to make the bells ring at Christmas. I was chosen to sing the finale, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”. This one is found in most hymnals, but seldom sung. I really appreciated the words, but it seemed no one ever knew the song. I was thrilled when Casting Crowns re-worked the song and made a beautiful rendition of it, which in turn made it a favorite.

As it turns out, this year (2015) is actually the first year ever that I have not been involved in a children’s Christmas program. Even in my college years, I would come home and help out with the children’s program. During those years, my favorite was a  program called, “The Characters of Christmas Meet Christ”. It shared each character's view of Christmas day and how it affected them. The final thought was “What about you? How does Christmas affect you? Do you have room for Jesus?”

As an adult, I have worked in Children’s ministries and directed a Children’s Christmas musical every year. As an adult, just out of college, I was directing the adult choir at a small Wesleyan Church. We decided to do a Christmas Cantata that had a children’s choir part.
I’ll never forget how sweet it was to hear the children chime in on the repeats on “How Great Our Joy”. I have used that many times over the years.

Yes, over the years I have taken many of the things learned and incorporated them into new programs written for the group of children I had at the time. True, sometimes we purchased a program went by the book, but many times I wrote my own script. I loved to encourage the children in the same way. Encouraging them to find a bit of courage and take a speaking or singing part. It has also caused all these children in my ministries over the years to develop their talents. Oh, the stories I could tell of children taking that first step as a speaker or soloist! But that is for another day.

Here's a sampling of program pictures from the past. CLICK HERE

So, what memories do you have of “Christmas Programs Past”?

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