A little story was re-enacted in church this morning; a little story that first unfolded in Bethlehem; a little story of hope that has always had the power to change the world.
It was totally unrehearsed.
Costumes and crowns lay on pews – no one knew who would wear them; gold, frankincense and myrrh sat at the ready – no-one knew who would carry them; a baby doll, wrapped snug in blue cloth waited patiently – no-one knew who would hold him.
But when the invitation was given to be part of the story, a boy and girl volunteered to be Mary and Joseph; shepherds and sheep came forward; three brothers opted to be kings, and a little boy eagerly grabbed a star that was bigger than himself.
And the ancient story unfolded, along with carols and readings, while proud parents took photographs.
And despite the big star tripping as he reached the stable; despite baby Jesus being almost thrown in the manger; and despite the big cardboard cow toppling over, it all turned out perfectly.
And I think about that real journey to Bethlehem…totally unrehearsed; no-one knowing where or when the baby would be born; no-one knowing who would wear the crown, or quite who it was that Mary would hold..
And despite there being no room at the inn, despite being surrounded by the smell of animals, and despite the King of the World having to sleep in an eating trough, it all turned out perfectly.
God was born.
What could be more perfect than that?
And like a million lights twinkling in the darkness of a Christmas night, like a choir of carolers singing in the quiet of a December evening, magic must have filled the air.
Hope was born.
And aren’t we all meant to be part of that story too?