In church sanctuaries across the nation this afternoon, children gathered to retell the Christmas story. Their adorable recitations and merry music concluded, no doubt, with “Silent Night” or possibly “Go Tell It On the Mountain.”
It’s one of those traditions some parents might dread, but as a woman who never had a toddler of her own, I cherish those occasional shows I’m blessed to attend. I enjoyed seeing my 4-year-old nephew don the gear of a shepherd and my 9-year-old nephew wear an angel’s glittery halo as quiet and confident fifth-graders (it’s always the fifth graders) recite Luke’s version of Jesus’ birth story.
But I’m sure I wasn’t the only person in America whose heart filled her throat when the fidgety pre-schoolers sang “Away In A Manager”
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care,
And take them to heaven to live with you there.
I don’t know what sort of faith community Newtown, Conn., is, and I have no idea if those 6- and 7-year-olds who lost their lives on Friday would have had parts in a Christmas program today, but I thought of those children this afternoon as I watched my nephews perform, dressed in their Sunday best, and I said a little wordless prayer.
Let there by peace on earth
And let it begin with me.