A few years ago I wrote a Christmas children’s stage play that has since been produced in a number of churches. In the opening scene, after a choir of pint-sized angels sing “Glory to God in the Highest,” three shepherds have a conversation in which they all agree they don’t believe in angels, didn’t see or hear what they thought they saw and heard, and then run off stage in search of the proclaimed Christ child. It always gets a giggle from the audience.
While the storyline of the play follows the story as it unfolds in Luke 2, in the locales where I have been available to direct the children’s acting, I tried to help them re-envision the scene. See it not just as a piece of history, but as a living part of their own personal experience. “What if,” I say, “the shepherds were not the only ones looking up into the sky that night? What if everyone looking up into the night sky were able to see the magnificent choir of beautiful winged beings, radiant, iridescent, glowing with residual glory absorbed from being in the presence of God just moments before?”
What if the star seen by the wise men in the East were really the blinding light emitting from the throne room of God, as the fabric of the thin veil between heaven and earth was rent in two permitting entrance of the heavenly host of angels into the literal and spiritual darkness of the humble earthly theater?
If I were to capture this scene in tableaux vivants style for the Pageant of the Masters, I would “paint” the shepherds stage-left, the manger scene front and center with a tear in the backdrop above, back-lit with high beam lights as angels pour forth in song, while magi stage-right gape in amazement at the astronomical phenomenon they are witnessing…the same heavenly light (interpreted as a star) that would motivate them to pack their camels for the months-long journey on which they would soon embark.
So what if it happened that all who had the spiritual inclination to look up that night (queen and beggar, saint and vagabond, as Judy Collins wrote in her song “Come Rejoice”) saw the heavenly choir? And why not? When we read about the second coming of Christ, that “every eye shall see Him,” I personally do not believe God will need to rely on satellite television to fulfill that promise…when Jesus the King enters the scene, I believe every eye shall see Him, naked and unaided. So why not angels filling the sky on that first Christmas morn?
No, I am not proposing a new interpretation of Luke’s Christmas gospel. But I do propose this (as originally stated by an early church father)—divine wisdom comes only to prepared hearts….and EVERY prepared heart shall see Him. That’s the message I tried to infuse in the hearts of the children portraying shepherds and choir and magi and even wicked King Herod. It’s the same message I hope to re-infuse in my own heart today.