Surrey Hills Baptist Children’s Centre (SHBCC) connects with over 120 families each year through its Kindergarten and Childcare programs. The Centre maintains a Christian presence in its community and describes itself as “A place of faith and early learning.” Over 250 of the children and families of the Centre attended the 2019 end of year Christmas celebration for community connection, celebration of the year and re-telling of the nativity story. The leadership of the Centre imagined a creative re-enactment of the story where parents would be spontaneously scripted into the story, given costumes and lines on the spot and engaged in the re-telling of Jesus birth, while others played musical instruments and sang well known carols throughout the reenactment. With much laughter and fun parents were given costumes and played the various roles as the story was narrated.
As the story concluded and the costumes were being packed away a mother who had played the role as the Inn Keeper approached the Centre’s Director and asked if they could speak further. The mother started, “I have been the Inn Keeper in a play that I don’t understand. Can you explain to me what I was just a part of?” The Director took one of the Children’s nativity books from the Reception display and opened it to re-tell the story of the birth of Jesus once more. As the story was read the Director spoke of her own experience of the good news of Jesus birth that the angels announced to the Shepherds. She spoke of how He had forgiven and changed her life and offered her hope. She went on to speak of how Jesus came to offer hope to all of humanity without exception and that all are welcome to join in and receive the forgiveness He offers. As the mother heard all of this she was prompted with more questions, “So it’s not a made-up story? It actually happened? Jesus really was born and lived for these reasons?” “Yes, it is a true story, an actual historical event” the Director replied. The mother asked again, “So this is what Christian faith is about? This is your faith?” “Yes” the Director replied. As the mother paused to reflect on all that she had re-enacted, heard and seen in the Children’s picture story book she had one more question, “Why has nobody ever told me this before?”
The declaration of the good news of Jesus birth by the angels to the Shepherds in the field was good news to the ears of the Shepherds 2000 years ago and it is still good news to those who truly hear it today. Nothing has changed in the power, authority, freedom and hope of this good news message. Our culture may know of the story but we are called to be the people who carry it in ways that allow others to truly hear it and experience all of the good that this news brings.