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Manger Play

My daughter Lauren was in the church Christmas play when she was in 2nd grade, and believe it or not, a live bat was swooping down at the poor kids on the altar during the play. Not the rest of the congregation, just the manger scene kids. Lauren was so excited to play Mary, and there she was, kneeling with “Joseph” on the altar with all of her little friends paying homage to the baby in the manger. Luckily the baby was played by a doll. Sure enough, the lesser known manger guest, otherwise known as a bat, went from the high, vaulted ceiling to dive down at the kids, over and over. Of course the church was “Christmas packed,” and all the attendees got to witness the nonverbal communication skills between the parents and the kids as the manger scene kids got “the look.” You know the one parents give when their children are contemplating their next move? The shepherds were looking at their moms with a, “Should I beat the bat down with my staff?” expression. Their moms were giving a, “Don’t even think about it” look. “Joseph” thought it was hilarious. He thought that bat was the coolest gift from God that the baby got. “Mary” looked at me with an expression of, “Should I bolt? Do I stay and ignore it? The show must go on?” I gestured to her, “You’re doing great, you’re totally fine!” Every time she bent down when it swooped, she leaned over the baby so it looked like she was really in character, protecting her newborn baby. One of the wise men on the end did make a break for it. He was wise enough to know that was a bad situation. The other wise men just wanted to see how things would play out, so they stuck around. It did make us think, were there bats that holy night? I remember reading about a camel, some sheep, oxen, a goat maybe? Could have been a bat there? We couldn’t help but laugh, but most of the kids were not amused. I could see if we were doing a play about Noah where all the mammals were represented, but the manger scene? It looked a little out of place. Luckily it was ushered out fairly quickly. It was an unexpected twist to the children’s Christmas play that year, but we were all thankful that the kids stuck it out without hazard pay and portrayed the true meaning of Christmas for us all. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and stay focused on what really matters, in spite of what swoops at you!

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