Church performance awoke spirit of season

Judy Brandon

Always at Christmas I recall the Flat Creek Baptist Church Christmas children’s program over fifty years ago. The children in the church were to tell the Christmas story the Sunday night before Christmas.

Daddy was the pastor and on this particular Sunday, my sister Susie had strep throat so mother stayed at home in Kansas City with her. Daddy and I made the trip to Flat Creek, Mo. On this wintry day, we were headed for a country church whose members knew little of fashion and cared less for the newest styles. So mother dressed me in a flannel shirt, jeans and boots because a winter storm had brought treacherous cold temperatures to the area.

My friends and I were to tell the Christmas story, the coming of Christ Jesus, from the account in the Bible. I rehearsed and ran through my part several times to ensure that if someone made a mistake on the Christmas story, it would not be me.

The service began. We sang Christmas carols and then the other children and I took our places on the tiny platform in the church. Candles on the table in front of the pulpit flickered in the sanctuary as lights were dimmed.

The first child started the story and others followed. We got Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem, the innkeeper declaring no room and then the birth of Jesus.

We possessed no props, animals or costumes. It was not a high tech performance, not videotaped or televised and we had no orchestra. We were just far out in a country church amid freezing temperatures and snow.

When it came to my part, an extraordinary thing happened. I began: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:8-14)

Our modest cast of characters didn’t astound the world that night with our performance. There were less than fifty attendees in the audience so we had no trouble seating the people. Yet, with the reading of the scriptures, my whole being was swept with the most tender and warm feeling.

I believe the experience has remained with me through the years because it was on that night that I made the connection with the magnificent happening in Bethlehem. When I gave my heart to Christ, that baby found me and Bethlehem became personal for me. I was proclaiming an event that spiritually touched a chord my heart and for the first time, I understood that.

After the service, all the children lined up in the fellowship hall for a sack of oranges and apples and peppermint candies. I made sure to get an extra one for Susie.

Then Daddy and I trekked out to the car amidst blowing snow and freezing temperatures and we headed for home. I felt secure, comfortable and contented because my Daddy was driving and I knew that baby was in my heart.

Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: