Annette from Texas shared a funny Christmas memory that’s taken on serious meaning over the years.
Around the time she and her twin sister were teenagers in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in the late ‘50s, a tradition started in their small Baptist church to create a living Nativity scene. Members would dress up as all the characters of the Nativity, so that cars could drive by in reverence and awe and see the Christmas story in 3D. It took months of work, part of which was coaching teenagers on how to “be still and know God.”
They never could teach the live animals to be still, so it could be pretty nerve-wracking, trying to stand motionless next to a live camel or goat with ideas of its own.
Annette was given a very special role. She wrote:
“I was the angel on high – 20 feet high to be exact…When the angel climbed rickety, dark stairs at the back of the makeshift manger stall, the act itself took such fortitude and perseverance that the spotlight on her was snuffed every 15 minutes and a new angel would appear as fast as she could safely make that climb.
I prayed for all I was worth: not to fall, not to faint, and not to freeze to death…a few blocks from the Gulf, we never knew if we would have freezing cold or temps so hot at Christmas we could have worn bikinis under our angel attire – IF that would not have been a sin…But I digress. We were told that angels could not move a muscle. Even if the nose itched (or some other place), or if we felt a sneeze coming on, we HAD to remain perfectly still...Being 20 feet off the ground with arms outstretched for 15 minutes and a thin wooden support-cross hidden behind me in my white robe, I couldn't help but know—or pray for—God's presence.”
Annette said she didn’t remember having any epiphanies back then. But time and again over the years, when she needed guidance or to trust that things would work out, or to know that stillness can bring a peace that passes all understanding, she’s thought back to what she learned from her scary job, dangling over the Nativity Scene. As she put it:
“God reveals himself to us in His son through His Holy Spirit. And I don’t need angel wings or a halo to fly to His presence. Just that hidden cross of support.”