Yesterday afternoon, a 90-year old woman played the role of Mary in a living nativity. As the narrator told the birth story, she pushed her walker alongside Joseph who took slow steps while leaning on his cane. Once seated at the manger, I saw tears well-up in her eyes.
Earlier, I had heard someone ask her how she felt about being Mary in the nativity story at her senior care residence. Her answer was brief but profound. “I consider it a high honor to be asked to be the mother of Jesus, even for a play.”
There were other heartfelt moments of the all-senior-adult living nativity. Two great-grandmothers, angels with cardboard wings attached to their wheelchairs, got their tinsel tangled in the hallway, causing a few giggles. A third angel wearing pink lipstick and a sling around her neck reached out with her “good” arm to touch the baby Jesus.
A shepherd who came in a wheelchair forgot to lower his walking staff as we went through the doorway. There were white terrier dogs instead of sheep. And one wise man complained that if her crown was pushed down too far, her ears would stick out.
Sure, it was an unlikely telling of the birth story. But an important truth began to shine as brightly as the star of Bethlehem. All of us are invited to step into the Christmas story. No matter our age or limitations. God wants us to come… just as we are… to the manger. There we will find Christmas.