At 6 am one Saturday morning, Goldi, soon to be “Star of stage and Screen,” announced her favorite words- “Let’s do a play.”
I sat in the kitchen with my tea at hand making out my Saturday list: wash, clean, groceries….all about the practice of being organized and running the house- battles with her need to create and express.
“Well, we have lots of things to do today,” I said working my way OUT of doing a play at 6 am with darkness all around and promises of the sun’s rays still not yet realized.
“Put down Baby Jesus Play ” Goldi said pointing to my list.
“B- Baby J-Jesus Play!” she sounds out to awaken my sleepy ears.
I concede and write it down. At the last written letter, she springs into a plan.
“Who will be Mary?” I asked with a new fresh paper titled “Baby Jesus Play Characters.”
Goldi rummaged around her Barbie box and found Belle. She draped one of my good, (probably handmade in Cyprus- handed down from my grandmother) napkins over her to make her look more the part. She does the same for Prince Charming.
“He’s Joesph,” she said seating them both side by side. She the two off the list and proceeds.
“Now what about Baby Jesus?” she asks.
Her eyes wander around in thought and she suddenly runs in her bedroom. Out she comes with a soft teddy bear wrapped in her baby blanket . The one she still sleeps with and caresses each night.
“Mom, I need help wrapping this baby up!” she cries.
I couldn’t even do the swaddle wrap very well when Goldi was a baby.But she wants me to wrap her teddy bear up as tightly and snuggly as Mary did.
“Never mind. ” she says laying a bundle of pink on the floor next to Princess Belle – ( I mean Mary) and Prince Charming ( I mean Joseph) .
” We still need animals.” she demands.
“You could ask your brother if you could borrow some of his. ”
Immediately she inquires and with a silent nod from her brother , she hauls a blue box full of mostly forest and jungle animals. “We’ll need this deer, pig, and of course this tiger. ”
Surely there must be at least one sheep or donkey in that collection? I sigh.
Goldi has chosen Pinocchio as one of the wise men – in fact there’s only 1 wiseman and an angel off her Christmas tree. No shepherds.
“There. Now, it’s all set. ” she says with deep satisfaction.
I ‘ve seen many creches. Fisher Price, Peanuts Characters. Veggie tales,- cute but not the kind you would put on your fireplace mantel in my opinion. The one Goldi has made the base of our very fancy Christmas tree , has got to be the most far fetched one ever. It’s not the Willow Tree beauty it is almost like the Herdman invasion of the Nativity.
“Once upon a time,” Goldi begins in an English accent, there was a woman named Mary who married Joseph and she was going to have a baby. So when the baby was born, he had a good favorite sleep. Mary put him in the manger. The angel ( which at the time was laying on the floor face down) said “Don’t be afraid. This baby is the Best one in the World.”
I nod at the truth told.
“Yes, He was the best in the world wasn’t He. I confirm.
“Then the kings wanted to see baby Jesus.” Goldi continues.
She brings Pinocchio I mean the wise man) and some animals up to the baby and says ” Oh, isn’t he so cute?”
And that was the Best Christmas ever. THE END
“Okay, now, I would like to watch Frosty the Snowman?”
I am frozen with disappointment. The play critic in me wants to cry out ” inaccurate, brief, unrealistic, and performed by a real novice in Biblical knowledge.”
What have we done to give her this mixed up notion that a tiger, Prince Charming, and Bell were present while Pinocchio the Wise man gave the baby nothing but a compliment while the angel just lays face down saying little and singing nothing?
“Isn’t there someone who can tell Goldi what Christmas is all about?” I shout in my brain with my Charlie Brown voice. The true meaning of Christmas lost in a bunch of meaningless , “nothing to do with it” toys.
And there’s been so much nothing to do with Christmas. First is was talking again about Mrs. Claus needing to come and not Santa. He can stop and have a cheeseburger for the second year in a row. Then it was singing Jingle Bells at the first snowfall Thanksgiving Eve. We’ve been “booed” and now “elfed” so we needed to elf someone back. Sigh. I wonder if Cupid is warming up as well for his big day in February.
But then… there was soft singing. At the closing down the set of the Baby Jesus Play 2015 Goldi was singing : “O come Let us Adore Him.” The one we sang that morning before Thanksgiving when we saw the first snow. The one we made Goldi sing over the phone to her Grandma who lives an hour away. The one that we all sing hopefully not just on The Day but all year long. Goldi was singing it.
In sudden amazement I found God with us. My faith was so fixed on the should be and not on the amazing possibility that Goldi knew in faith God with us. It is in many moments of journeying with an autistic child, that I in faith need to believe that things deemed impossible might someday be reality- all because of Immanuel – God with us.
Goldi was adoring her Savior through her very own Baby Jesus Play- Barbies Pinocchio, tiger, and fine linen napkins from Cyprus. Immanuel – God with us- wrapped up in her baby blanket that she’s treasured all her life, surrounded by jungle animals lovingly shared by her brother. This was her adoring- to show Jesus dwelling with us. Dwelling with us on this journey of autism , this Christmas and forever. It was the Best Everything to Do with Christmas Pageant Play ever.
Matthew 1:23 BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL,” which translated means, “GOD WITH US.”