In the United Methodist Church in this part of the country we have a tradition called March to the Manger. On the Sunday before Christmas we march to the front of the church, usually to the sounds of O Come All ye Faithful to lay a special offering in a manger. The gifts are often wrapped in Christmas paper and bows. Members of the congregation portray Mary, Joseph, shepherds, angels and sometimes the wise men. The role of baby Jesus is traditionally given to the newest baby in the congregation with his parents serving as Mary and Joseph. Growing up, I always looked forward to the March to the Manger, laying my little wrapped package near the creche and glimpsing at the baby who was usually snoozing on his mama's lap. To this day, it still feels special to file to the front of the church, singing multiple verses of O come All ye Faithful and looking into the face of the baby chosen to portray the newborn Jesus.
This year was even more special because Special Delivery was picked to play Jesus at the church I grew up in. The March to the Manger was incorporated into the church's Christmas cantata, so Special D., Mrs. Scrubs and Super Cop had to sit still for a long time while the choir and the children sang numerous songs. Now I know I might be just a teensy biased, but I think he was the cutest little baby savior I've ever seen. See?
And he was so good. He slept through most of the program but started to come alive about forty minutes into the program. We saw his eyes pop open, his mouth form a big yawn and then his little arm stretch out long. I glanced at the program and saw that we still had two long songs to go. I hoped he wasn't hungry because he will certainly let you know if he's hungry. Apparently, he wasn't. However, he was gassy. Mrs. Scrubs says she thought he was pooping his pants during the last round of singing. He didn't, but let's just say that while we were greatly singing o'er the plains, he was repeating the sounding joy. The smell in the manger wasn't the sheep. His bright little eyes stayed glued to the bling on the three kings and the spotlight in the loft. He bounced on Mrs. Scrubs knee quietly until the program was over, as if he knew his special role. And just like that, his first starring role was over. His adoring fans rushed forward for a few pics and a chance to hold him before we had to go home. What a sweet moment in this Christmas season. I will however, have to have a talk with Super Cop about his choice of sandals.
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