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Finding Harmony in Advent: Day 8

December 8, 2013


Unscripted Moments: The Little Shepherd Boy

The shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. Luke 2: 15-16

The little shepherd boy had refused to take a nap that day, his mother told me later. His father, a drama teacher at a local middle school, was the main character at our church’s Christmas Eve service.  Three-year-old Andrew was the little shepherd boy.

But about half way through the drama, Andrew’s eyelids began to droop. The father, well versed in ad-libbing, said, “You must be getting tired. Sit on my lap and I’ll finish the story.”

Andrew climbed into his shepherd-dad’s lap and the drama went on. But his head began to nod and then jerk awake. I thought, “This little boy really is a great actor because he sure looks believable.”

By this time most everyone in the front of the church had caught on that yes, Andrew was really and truly falling asleep on stage, and there wasn’t a thing anyone could do. There were titters and finally even dad broke character and suppressed a chuckle. Afterwards, people said that if there were any little shepherd boys really out helping watch the sheep on that big night, they very well might have fallen asleep.

It was the highlight of the whole Christmas Eve service. Somehow it is always the unplanned, unscripted moments that bring serendipity. Maybe it is how God breaks through to us when we have a set idea of how things should go, of how we should live our lives.

I’m sure Mary was not thrilled with her unplanned moments, either, when Gabriel announced her pregnancy. She must have been mortified. But, after a few awkward moments, she responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let it happen as you have said.”

Prayer: Lord, I pray that I will be open to all that you have in store for me this season. Let it happen to me as you will. Amen.


Comment: What is your favorite unscripted moment from a Christmas play or pageant or other program?

Find out more about the wonderful little church family where this occurred here.


My photos each day in this Advent series feature figures from a handmade advent calendar I picked up long ago at a yard sale. It quickly became the kids’ favorite, and a permanent addition to our Advent collection and celebrations. I hope you enjoy watching the parade of characters on this virtual advent calendar.


This story was first published in my regular syndicated weekly newspaper column, Another Way, see  (which can be used in any local paper; email me for details).


From → Faith, Family Life

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