CHRISTMAS EVE SERVICE--2023
AND JESUS SAID: "I TELL YOU THE TRUTH, UNLESS YOU CHANGE AND BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN, YOU WILL NEVER ENTER THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
This Christmas Eve I would like to share a story that a Grandmother tells about her 3 year old granddaughter….
God recently allowed me to see Jesus through the
eyes of someone seeing Him for the first time.
Having the advantage of knowing how the story ends, we can easily forget the cost of our redemption and the love of our Savior.
Every year we attend a local church pageant which
tells the story of Jesus from His birth through His
resurrection. It is a spectacular event, with live
animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic
The magi enter the huge auditorium on llamas from the rear, descending the steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.
Of all the years we have attended, one stands out
indelibly in my heart. It was the year we took our
then three-year-old granddaughter, Bailey, who loves Jesus.
She was mesmerized throughout the entire
play, not just watching, but involved as if
she were a player. She watches as Joseph and Mary
travel to the Inn and is thrilled when she sees the
baby Jesus in His mother's arms.
Later when Jesus, on a young donkey, descends the
steps from the back of the auditorium, depicting His
triumphal entry into Jerusalem, Bailey was ecstatic.
As he neared our aisle, Bailey began jumping up and
down, screaming, "Jesus, Jesus! There's Jesus!" Not
just saying the words but exclaiming them with every fiber of her being.
She alternated between screaming his name and hugging us. "It's Jesus. Look!"
I thought she might actually pass out she was so excited.
Tears filled my eyes as I looked at Jesus through
the eyes of a child in love with Him, seeing Him for
the first time. How like the blind beggar screaming
out in reckless abandon, "Jesus, Jesus!", afraid he
might miss Him, not caring what others thought. This was so much fun.
Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers
shoved and slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gethsemane to Pilate. Bailey responded as if she were in the crowd of women, with terror and anger. "Stop it!" she screamed.
"Bad soldiers, stop it!" As I watched her reaction,
I wished we had talked to her before the play.
"Bailey it's OK. They are just pretending," but she
shouted "They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!"
She stood in her seat reacting to each and every
move. People around us at first smiled at her
reaction, thinking "How cute!". Then they quit
smiling and began watching her watch Him.
In a most powerful scene, the soldiers lead Jesus carrying the cross down the steps of the auditorium from the back. They were yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus, who was bloodied and beaten.
Little Bailey was now hysterical.
"Stop it! Soldiers! Stop it," she screamed. She must
have been wondering why all these people did
nothing. She then began to cry instead of scream.
"Jesus, Oh, Jesus!" People all around us began to
weep as we all watch this devoted little disciple
see her Jesus beaten and then killed as those first
century disciples had.
Now going back and forth between her mother's lap
and mine for comfort, she was distraught.
I kept saying, "Bailey, it's OK. Jesus is going to be OK.
These are just people pretending to be soldiers. She
looked at me like I was crazy. In my lap, we talked
through the cross and burial. "Watch, Bailey, watch
The tomb began to tremble, and lightening flashed as
the stone rolled away. A super bowl touchdown cheer couldn't come close to matching this little one's
reaction to the resurrection. "Jesus! He's OK.
Mommy, it's Jesus!" " It's Jesus!"
Grandma said: I prayed that she wasn't going to be traumatized by this event, but that Bailey would remember it. I know I shall never forget it. I shall never forget seeing Jesus' suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection through the eyes of an innocent child.
Following the pageant the actors all assembled in
the foyer to be greeted by the audience. As we
passed by some of the soldiers Bailey screamed out,
"Bad soldier, don't you hurt Jesus." The actor who
portrayed Jesus was some distance away surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward Him, wrapping herself around His
legs, holding on for dear life.
He hugged her and said, "Jesus loves you." Then He patted her to go away.
She wouldn't let go. She kept clinging to Him,
laughing and calling His name. She wasn't about to
let go of her Jesus.
I think God in heaven stopped whatever was going on that day and made all the angels watch Bailey. "Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said; "LET THE LITTLE CHILDREN COME TO ME, AND DO NOT HINDER THEM, FOR THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BELONGS TO SUCH AS THESE."
Kind of gives this verse of Scripture a heightened meaning doesn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be great if we would all just stop and experience Christmas through the eyes of a Bailey…
What we celebrate at Christmas, The angel’s proclamation to the Shepherds out on the hillside of the arrival of the Messiah, the babe lying in a manger in Bethlehem where the wise men come from afar to pay homage, is but the beginning of the story…. A Story that winds its way up a hill to a cross at a place called Golgotha where this same Christ child now grown up is crucified for your and my sins and the story of Jesus earthly visitation concludes with an empty tomb, a resurrection and an ascension into Heaven providing salvation for all who come to believe in Him.
When you look into the manger what is it that you see?
Do you see, not just a cute little babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, but do you see the cross, do you see the empty tomb, do you see the resurrected Lord of Lords and King of Kings who came and gave His life for you and I?
Christmas is really about God’s forgiveness and redemption ….
John 3:16-17 ( NIV ) 16“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,£ that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.