Every year we attend a local church pageant that tells the story of
Jesus from His birth through His resurrection. It is a spectacular
event, with live animals and hundreds of cast members in realistic
costumes. The magi enter from the rear of the huge auditorium, on
Lamas, descending the steps in pomp and majesty. Roman soldiers look
huge and menacing in their costumes and makeup.
Of all the years we have attended, one holds very special memories
for me. It was the year we took our then three-year-old
granddaughter, Bailey, for the first time. She was mesmerized
throughout the entire play. She was not just watching, but she was
involved as if she were a participant.
She watched as Joseph and Mary traveled to the Inn , and she was
thrilled when she saw the baby Jesus in His mother's arms.
When Jesus, on a young donkey,
descended the steps from the back of the auditorium (depicting His
triumphal entry into Jerusalem ) Bailey was ecstatic. As he neared
our aisle, Bailey began to jump up and down. She screamed, 'Jesus,
Jesus! There's Jesus!'...not just saying the words, but exclaiming
them with every fiber of her being.
She alternated between screaming his
name and hugging us. 'It's Jesus. Look!' Tears filled my eyes as I
looked at Jesus through the eyes of a child who was so in love with
Him and seeing Him for the first time. How like the blind beggar who
screamed out in reckless abandon, 'Jesus, Jesus!'...afraid he might
miss Him...not caring what others thought.
Then came the arrest scene. On stage, the soldiers shoved and
slapped Jesus as they moved Him from the Garden of Gethsemane to
appear before Pilate. Bailey responded, with terror and anger, as if
she were in the crowd of women. 'Stop it!' she screamed. 'Bad
soldiers. Stop it!'
As I watched her reaction, I suddenly wished we had talked to her
before the play. I kept telling her, 'Bailey, it's okay. They are
just pretending.' However, her response was,
'They are hurting Jesus! Stop it!'
She stood in her seat, reacting to each and every move. People
around us, at first, smiled at her reaction. Then they quit smiling
and began to watch her, as she watched Him.
In a most powerful scene the soldiers lead Jesus, carrying the
cross, down the steps of the auditorium from the back. They were
yelling, whipping, and cursing at Jesus who appeared to be bloodied
and beaten. Bailey was now hysterical. 'Stop it! Soldiers, stop it!'
In her young mind she must have been wondering why so many people
all around her did nothing to help. She then began to cry instead of
scream. 'Jesus, oh, Jesus,' she said.
People all around us began to weep as we all watched this devoted
little disciple sees her Jesus beaten and killed, as those first
century disciples had seen. Going back and forth between her
mother's lap and mine, for comfort, she was distraught. I kept
saying, 'Bailey, it's okay. Jesus is going to be okay. These are
just people pretending to be soldiers.
She looked at me like I was crazy. As she sat in my lap, we talked
through the cross and burial.
'Watch, Bailey, watch for Jesus!'
The tomb began to tremble, and lightning flashed, as the stone
A Super Bowl touchdown cheer could
not come close to matching this little one's reaction to the
'Jesus! He's okay. Mommy,
I prayed that she was not going to be traumatized by this event, but
that she would remember it. I shall never forget it. I shall never
forget seeing Jesus' suffering, crucifixion, and resurrection
through the eyes of such a young child.
Following the pageant, all of the actors assembled in the foyer to
be greeted by the audience. As we passed by some of the soldiers,
Bailey screamed out, 'Bad soldier. Don't you hurt Jesus.' The actor
who portrayed Jesus was some distance away, surrounded by
well-wishers and friends. Bailey broke away from us and ran toward
him, wrapping herself around his legs and holding on for dear life.
He hugged her and said, 'Jesus
loves you.' She would not let go. She kept clinging to Him, laughing
and calling His name. She was not about to let go of her Jesus.
I like to think that God in heaven stopped whatever was going on
that day, and asked all of the angels to watch Bailey. Perhaps He
even said, 'Now, look there! You see what I meant when I said,
'Of such is the kingdom of
Bailey's reaction should be our reaction every single day of our
Proverbs 17: 6
6. Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of
children are their fathers.
Psalms 127: 3, 5
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the
womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not
be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
When we think of Him...who He is...what He did for us...
what He offers to us... How can we do anything less than worship