A live nativity offers a lesson in joy

When our son brought the flyer home inviting all fourth graders to participate in our parish’s live nativity, I asked him what he wanted to do.

“I want to be on the stage crew,” he said.

I didn’t even know that was an option. Somehow being “on the stage crew” became taking on one very simple task—holding up the Star of Bethlehem at the end of the performance.

As I watched the live nativity, I kept wondering when our son would finally appear. It seemed to take such a long time to get through the story to the Star of Bethlehem. But then—suddenly—there was our boy, holding a large, lit star behind the Holy Family.

Our fourth grader may have only had one brief job to do, but he embraced it wholeheartedly. He held the Star proudly and peered through the center of it with an enormous smile. His eyes, his smile, and his whole face were full of joy.

It could have been such a small moment of the play, happening in the background of the real, transformative story—and maybe for some viewers that’s all it was. But for me, the excited, happy look on our son’s face was beautifully moving.

Gaudete.

Let us rejoice.

The Lord is coming.

The Lord is here.

And we get to have a front-row seat to experience all of it. Because Jesus is coming to each of us.

As we begin this third week of Advent, we light the pink candle on our wreath and begin a special time of rejoicing. Between now and Christmas, we each have so many roles to fill—giving and receiving and praying and preparing. Maybe, in the midst of the mixed emotions of this time of year, we will be able to pick one of those roles, one of those tasks, and allow ourselves to experience the joy of the season.

For more on Advent in the Archdiocese of Baltimore, click here.

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.