Friday, December 12, 2008

I'll take fries with my Baby Jesus.

Okay.. not really. But I thought that was a catchy title to describe our Drive-Thru Nativity. The title "drive-thru" conjures up visions of trans-fatty foods, not the story of Christ being born. But 40 years ago, a man at our church (Dan Moss) started a tradition that continues today.

Our church parking lot is transformed into 9 different scenes that tell the story of Jesus being born. We have actors, animals, lights, sound, and most importantly the most precious story ever told.

Cars line up (sometimes the wait is over an hour long), and one by one they drive thru and watch the story of Jesus being born unfold before their eyes. Kids are hanging out of the windows, adults are standing up thru the sun-roofs, all to catch a glimpse of the nativity.

I grew up in this church, and played both an angel and Mary. One year, I was Mary on the donkey that took off through the parking lot with me attached. It was awesome.

Well, it's been 16 years since I've been a part of this, but last night, I made my return to the Nativity.

Haley had asked me a couple of weeks ago if she could be in the drive-thru this year, and I told her she was too small. But after talking to the drive-thru director, he told me she could do it if I went with her... so I played the role of Chaperone Shepherd and Haley was a shepherd as well.

She was so excited. Everywhere we went yesterday, she told everyone we met that she was going to be a shepherd, and then she would show them how she had been rehearsing to stand still.

So we got dressed and walked over to our scene. I'll highlight some of my favorite moments for you.

1. When they handed me a cow and told me I was in charge. This is a pic after I was given said cow.

2. Sitting next to Haley and sensing the beauty of tradition.
3. Watching Haley love on the animals and listening to her talk to them.

4. Learning from Haley how easy it is to talk to people, as she walked around from person to person while waiting for the next cars to show up, having conversations as if she has known them for years. She really enjoyed the angels.
5. When a shepherd's staff dropped and scared the cow, and Haley jumped up to get the staff, and yelled during the scene "This is what scared the cow Mom!" Then went on to comfort the cow.
6. When Haley raked the hay with her staff until she remembered she was supposed to be smiling at baby Jesus. So she jumped up and peered into the manger.
7. When part of Haley's costume fell down and she yelled (during the scene) - "My underpants fell down!"
8. When a lady who had a little too much to drink wondered through our scene (while it was being viewed) petting the animals.
9. When the cow pooped and peed and all the kids started laughing.
10. When Haley got mad cause I made her sit beside me and she folded her arms in an obvious tantrum and was turned away from the manger... I wasn't aware there was a "grumpy shepherd" role!

It was a fun evening. And what I really loved was the way it made our large church and our large community seem small. If you get a chance, come out and see it tonight (Friday) from 6-9:30. I won't be in it (I hear your sorrow) but maybe we'll see you there!


Heidi said...

So cute... We missed you guys when we went through.

It was fun - Jack was sitting on Kurt's lap in the driver's seat, hanging out the window and flirting with all the girls. Jack was flirting - not Kurt. Thought I'd better clarify.

AMankin said...

awesome memories!!! I would LOVE to have seen you and Haley as two shepherds. Sounds unforgettable.

johnsonandjohnson said...

YAY! I am so glad she was able to do it. Mom told me about how cute she was practicing being "crazy" and then "lights on." Adorable! Sorry we missed it :(

johnsonandjohnson said...

p.s. did you know that you have my blog address wrong? just thought I would share....

The Unlikely Pastor's Wife said...

what a cool memory :-)

discomommy said...

Awesome pics! I wish I could have seen her. Thanks to you three for being our audience last night.

SingingShrink said...

You are so right! I love the family feeling I get at the drive thru, especially downstairs in the Garden Room/Video Cafe, knowing that we're all there to serve one purpose that night. No matter what our role, the goal is to tell everybody (all 4005 people that showed up) that we are really excited about a baby boy named Jesus who came to save the world.

I'm glad Haley had fun! Maybe next time she won't need a chaperone. Although it sounds like you had fun playing hers!