Each year our production grew more elaborate . I'll never forget the Christmas Eve that we staged the play outside in the freezing cold night air so that my older cousin could hang suspended by a rope from a pecan tree, as he portrayed the angel Gabriel bringing the good news to the shepherds. He brought down the house with that stunt. Thankfully he sustained no injuries, and my uncle caught it on video.
Just as the three of us entered adolescence and thought we were too "cool" for such things as Christmas plays, the younger generation of cousins, who had in previous years each played the role of Baby Jesus, reached the perfect age for putting on the production. Since there were only two of them, they needed us to fill all the roles. We gladly obliged, and so this beloved Christmas Eve tradition continued.
Needless to say, Christmas Eve in our family would not be the same without the current generation of children putting on a Nativity play.
Because my own children are pretty big hams themselves, it didn't take much encouragement from me for them to continue the tradition. This is the third year they have put on a play for Christmas Eve. All three were angels for Act 1, bringing "good tidings of great joy" to the shepherds. In Act 2 in the stable, Giggly Girl was Mary, Superman was Joseph, and Sweet Pea remained an angel.
I also have a photo of Joseph singing, "Go Tell It on the Mountain", but I can't get it to load...aargh!
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David.) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, "Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us." And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.