A couple of weeks ago we had our annual Christmas program which included our worship team leading us in Christmas songs, old and new, pre-kindergarten singing We Wish You a Merry Christmas, my 1st & 2nd grade class reciting a poem, and the pre-teen ministry along with the third and fourth-graders did a song and poem of their own. Oh yeah, and many of the above kids doing a play of the Nativity which I directed.
Preparing a bunch of six and seven year-olds to memorize and recite a poem was a challenge in and of itself. Directing our Christmas play on Sunday mornings, when there was no guarantee who would be there and who wouldn't, without the benefit of our sound system since we were practicing at the same time as worship, was something else all together.
Of course, when it comes to kids and Christmas nobody cares if someone misses a line or forgets to come on stage- it adds to the charm. But as the director, trying to herd cats, it can be nerve wracking. To say I was stressed out would be putting it mildly. I don't know how many people, led by my wise and encouraging wife, told me I didn't need to be. It didn't matter though. Not until the day-of, when the lights came back on, would I be able to take a deep breath.
So that morning we are there early, doing a last-minute sound check. Everything seemed to be coming together. Even my budding poets appeared to be prepared. Then I looked over at our cast and noticed only half of them had changed into their costumes. Uh, oh. It's always something.
Then my phone rings. It is my wife. Our friends, who had half the costumes with them, were in a car accident on their way to the church building and she was on her way to them. Everything in my mind stopped. We were mere minutes before starting. And there was absolutely nothing I could do. What was more important- this Christmas program, or the health and well being of our good friends? (They were ok, by the way, but there was no way of knowing at the time.) I wanted to cancel, call the whole thing off. But it wasn't just about me. I had to set aside all of my cares and trust God that everything would work out.
So the spotlight came on and Mary and Gabriel slowly came on stage. Gabriel only missed a couple of lines. Elizabeth missed her cue. And our angels and shepherds caused a traffic jam right in front of the manger. But that was ok. So many told me afterwards how good the performance was and how much they enjoyed it. And once we were in the moment, I could honestly say I enjoyed it too.
I can't control everything. In fact, there's not much I can control. And although this is the second year I've directed this play, I don't really know what I'm doing. But God is in control and does know what he's doing. I may get credit for being "director" but God is really the one who directs the performance.
"The mind of a man plans his way,
But the LORD directs his steps."