"And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed....And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem....To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child...."
(I'm certain you can figure out the "cast members" here, but just in case you need a little help...Grace is "Mary" and Danny is "Joseph"...the "stable" is built out of two kitchen chairs draped with a blanket, and the "manger" is an empty toy basket. "Baby Jesus" is a baby doll Grace received from her daddy and the "swaddling clothes" are dish rags. Grace staged the entire scene and bossed, err, directed the entire household--including the dogs--in the retelling of the Christmas story. Grace is NOT smiling in the above story because she is still "great with child" and that is serious business people. Danny...err...Joseph IS smiling. Perhaps he's just happy he found a place for them to sleep .)
"And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered...And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
(Ahh, that's better...she's smiling now. Baby Jesus is here...He makes me smile too.)
"....And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger...."
(Sam is a shepherd in this photo...but pay attention...his role changes according to his behavior. And Joseph isn't smiling anymore...sitting on that hard floor makes a boy's back ache)
(Harry and Simon are sheep...or maybe donkeys....or cattle...I'm not sure. All I know is that they are, in fact, livestock. And they will sit VERY still if you tempt them with "people food")
"And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child."
(THIS is the instant that our sweet little "shepherd" became "Herod" the evil king...per the bossy director, err, "Mary". Sam got silly...and he started pulling down the stable and trying to throw baby Jesus across the room. Grace looked at me and said "Mom...Sam is HEROD!!! Get him outta here!!!")
(And did you know??..."Herod" likes Fritos! No joke! This pint sized evil ruler was tamed by a bowl full of salty snacks. And the "holy family" was able avoid his wrath. Wonder how history woulda been different if Frito Lay had been in business??)
"But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart..."
(She's a sight...this one. And life is never dull. Never. Thanks Grace. For helping us remember what Christmas is really about)