A ROLE FOR EVERY CHILD
Like most families, we have our Christmas traditions, including re- watching our favourite festive films, Polar Express and Love Actually, and the more recent additions, Frozen and Nativity. Not all focus on the Christmas story itself, but still leave me warmly reassured.
Love Actually does feature the Nativity. In one scene, presented with a list of costume requirements, Emma Thompson’s character gasps: “There was more than one lobster present at the birth of Jesus?” – an exclamation greeted with a “Duh!” from said first lobster-to-be.
Well, we all know there weren’t any lobsters in the stable that night, but is there any harm in stretching the facts a teeny bit, just to ensure that every child has a ‘part’ to
play in the school production of the greatest story ever told? After all, in the Rev Elizabeth Hanna’s devotional on page 32, we read of clergy, mobility scooters and camels – words not often used in the same sentence, but indicative of a little
improvisation to ensure the story of the birth of Christ is portrayed in as engaging a way possible.
The film Nativity features beleaguered schoolteacher,
Mr Maddens, and the legendary
Mr Poppy, who together have to create a Nativity production that will woo Hollywood.
All the girls want to be Mary, all the boys want to be Joseph. What to do? Not everyone can have
a lead role, and just how many shepherds, wise men and sheep can you gather onto one stage? Mr Poppy and Mr Maddens come up with an innovative solution and, as in the case of the lobster, every child is included.
Like the babe in the manger, children are at the heart of Christmas. In many schools and church halls, the magic of the birth of Jesus is being re-enacted and if introducing a lobster into the cast ensures that each child has a role, brilliant!
We must include all our children and celebrate their different gifts. Exclusion is one of the most common forms of bullying, yet it can go under the radar. To ensure that the quietest child, the one with the disability, the one who struggles to read or the one who is either a little ‘rotund’ or ‘slender’ has a role to play alongside the high-achieving, popular kid is vital for their mental health today and in the future.
When my daughter was 10, she announced she required a grey wig, as she had the role of ‘Granny’ in the P6 Nativity – needless to say, my reaction was similar to that of Emma Thompson’s character. It turned out Granny was the narrator of the Nativity – and so was born new confidence and a love of all things theatrical in my daughter’s life.
If some little person you know has been given the part of a lobster, tortoise or even a lion – rejoice and applaud.
Have a very blessed Christmas.
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