Find Yourself in the BIG Story

BY 30 HOUR FAMINE TEAM

By Luke Lang

It was my big debut and the very first time I sported a beard in public.

I was five.

It was a Christmas pageant at a small Baptist church. I was a wise man, which made sense because I was in Kindergarten, and when I wasn’t eating paste, I was a virtual fount of wisdom and knowledge. I wore a tattered bathrobe and a paper Burger King crown. But the whole reason that I wanted to be a wise man was because I got to wear a fake beard. It was scratchy and it made me look like a two-foot tall Oak Ridge Boy. I gotta admit, that fake beard awakened something in me…something raw…something downright primal. I think I can trace my love for facial hair back to this moment. I didn’t have a speaking role. I didn’t care: I had a beard. My job was pretty easy, walk over to the baby in the manger and deposit a gift. The baby was a shiny plastic doll that looked like a miniature Winston Churchill. The gift was a bedazzled shoebox. My parents were incredibly relieved that I didn’t trip over my bathrobe.

I was a part of the BIG story.

Flash forward to 1993, in a little church on the east side of Tulsa. It’s another nativity, I was Joseph in a pair of Chuck Taylors and this time the beard was real! My wife, Diana, was Mary. She was beautiful. And, our two-week-old baby girl, Delanie, made her big debut as sweet little baby Jesus. I gotta say, despite the fact that she was playing a boy, she nailed it! She was both calm and bright, and no crying she made. She did make something else in her swaddling pampers, but nobody beyond the second row realized that.

We were a part of the BIG story.

That is the way it is supposed to work.

The Nativity is meant to awaken something in us…something raw…something downright primal. The Christmas story was never meant to be a stand-alone story. It has always been an invitation.

We are invited to find ourselves in the story.

It is designed for crowd participation. We were never meant to just be spectators. We are supposed to become a part of the pageantry. We fancy ourselves wise men: regal, wise, gifted. Truth be told, we are more like the shepherds: misfits entrusted with majesty. We should find ourselves in the mission of Mary, carrying the Hope of the World into the world.

THE story is OUR story.

We get to invite the teenagers we work with into the story.

THE story is THEIR story too!

So look close at Christmas. Find yourself in the BIG story. The fake beard is optional.