Hey, Unto You a Child is Born!

He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:11-12

One of my favorite Christmas stories is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. The story is about a community church preparing for the annual Christmas pageant which had become a treasured although hectic experience. Preparations were going pretty much like always until the Herdmans showed up. The Herdmans were your stereotypical unchurched kids who smoked cigars, tormented weaker kids, stole Christmas treats, and generally acted in ways that were unacceptable especially to the more refined church folks.

Things got the boiling point when Imogene Herdman contended for the role of Mary which would have bumped Mary veteran, Alice Wendleken, from her rightful place in the pageant at least in her eyes. Eventually, the Christmas pageant was held complete with Herdmans. Imogene, who does play Mary, has a meltdown in the manger scene as the reality of what the real Mary endured dawned on her.

Then at the end of the play, Gladys Herdman stands on the stage before bathrobe-draped shepherds who were sore afraid … of her. And with booming voice for all to hear, she says, “Hey, for unto you a child is born.”

As a part of the prologue to his presentation of the gospel story, John reveals the sad reality that Jesus came to his own, and his own received him not. Those who had all the spiritual advantage simply could not grasp the truth that Jesus was their long awaited Messiah. They were so caught up in their own religious pageant that they missed the greatest message of all.

Thankfully, there were others who got it. And those who chose to believe in His name were given the right to become the children of God. This would include the Herdmans of the first century world like tax collectors, Samaritans and your average, everyday sinners. They heard the message and opened their hearts to it.

So this Christmas may it be that all of us will hear the unvarnished, boldly proclaimed announcement from the most unlikely of messengers, Gladys Herdman. “Hey, unto you a child is born.” And may we receive Him with all our hearts.

About the Author

Brian Lee

Brian retired in 2020 after more than 40 years as a pastor and teacher. He stays active teaching at his church in Jackson, TN, visiting his grandchildren, and writing at his blog: Soul Shaping

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