Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Emmanuel’s got the Strictly, X Factor Talent this Christmas!

Last year’s nativity was a challenge in more ways than one and ended up with us “almost” forgetting to add the baby Jesus into the proceedings – you can relive last year’s forgetful tale here.

A few weeks ago I sat the children down and asked for their ideas for this year’s re-telling of the most wonderful story, they came up with:
    • Using audio visuals
    • Using sound effects
    • Including puppets
    • A Gangnam Style dance off
    • X Factor
Every year I have my doubts wondering if I can write another nativity in a fresh new way, especially when the kids give me such a diverse list of requirements, but when you’ve got God on your side whispering ideas into your head as you type it up and pulling the thread together something just clicks and it somehow works. 

Some may scoff but I am convinced I have divine inspiration because each nativity has had an identity of its own with a strong gospel message and that has evolved as the story is written.

This was how the ideas came together for this year’s story…

We started with the glitz and glamour of the X Factor theme and a specially filmed sequence of our town as the judges arrive on stage.

Our four superstar judges were Nicole Scherzinger, Darcey Bussell, Craig Revel Horwood and Head Judge Henry, so that’s one from X Factor, two from Strictly and a lovely little boy who after the first planning session told his mum he was going to be an X Factor judge in the Nativity, so how could I not write him a special part!

Davina McCall and Claudia Winkleman, (again a mash up of Saturday night TV presenters) get to introduce the proceeding and the first contestant is an innocent young woman called Mary.

The judges ask to see her talent, what she can bring to Christmas.

“I’m just ordinary.” Replies Mary a bit bewildered by it all.

But the judges insist she has sparkle and she is overwhelmingly voted through to Bootcamp in Bethlehem.

On her way out Mary encounters an angel who tells her she is to have a baby. Serenely Mary accepts this news because God has ordained it.

The next contestant is Joseph a carpenter who brings some wooden toys to show the judges.

“They’ll come in great for the baby!” exclaims Nicole.

“What baby?” Joseph is decidedly puzzled by this turn of events.

Meanwhile Craig is not impressed with a mere carpenter until his phone rings. 

“That was the head judge in the sky with a seven from heaven – Joseph is automatically through to the next round, something about being a direct descendant of David the King.”

And so Mary and Joseph travel together to Bethlehem, not for a census but for a talent show.

Bethlehem is crowded but they find a friendly innkeeper who has no rooms left but offers them a pop up tent to sleep in.

“It looks a bit wobbly!”

“Oh no it’s stable!”


(Unfortunately the kids forgot this line; we may have to add it in again next year and I must add that it wasn't my joke!)

Mary and Joseph sit outside the tent pondering why they are here in Bethlehem.

I think it will be OK Mary, I had this dream.” Joseph reassures the young woman by his side.

Our baby is going to be very special.” Mary replies, totally accepting the new family circumstances they find themselves in.

The next contestants were recorded, an act called the Muppet and the Puppet who were sadly voted off the show, followed by a Gangnam Style dance off between the Wise Women and the Shepherds. This act went through to the live finals – well every nativity need wise women and shepherds!

Our Little Treasures, otherwise known as the crèche, had made a large sparkly star which was placed behind the tent and then they sang Little Donkey – absolutely beautiful – not a dry eye in the church and obviously put through to the final as well!

We took a break from the judging as the innkeeper suggested Mary and Joseph might like to watch some TV with him to pass the time, a quiz show called Pointless. This also appeared on screen pre-recorded featuring the Innkeeper as a contestant.

For those of you who don’t know Pointless is a quiz show where 100 people are given 100 seconds to give as many answers as they can to a question. The contestants have to find a pointless answer, an answer that is correct but that no else has said.

The winners are the pair who score the lowest number of points.

For the final the Innkeeper has to name someone from the nativity, an obscure answer that no one else has said to win the star prize.

He decides that Mary would be a pointless answer but it transpires that ALL 100 people asked have said Mary, therefore she is not pointless at all. 

“But I still don’t understand.” Says Mary on the stage, "I am just ordinary."

Enter the angel with the baby Jesus, a real baby, actually the baby sister of the little girl who played Mary.

“Mary you are so special and God has sent you his own son to take care of.  You and Joseph are to be Jesus’s mum and dad, watching over him as he grows up."

The judges want to see the baby too.

But the angel will only admit them if they stop judging and instead become ordinary shepherds and angels and other nativity characters.

The scene is set as everyone puts on a tea-towel, or a paper crown, angel wings or donkey ears to kneel before the new born King.
The nativity was finished off with the Bible reading from 1 Corinthians 1 26-29 

Taken from the "Special Nativity Paraphrased Version 2012"

“Even when God is foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God is weak, he is stronger than everyone else.

Not many will ever get to be the brightest and the best by the world’s standards.
But God chose the foolish things of this world to put the wise to shame. He chose the weak things of this world to put the powerful to shame.

Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately choses men and women that our culture overlooks and exploits,  God choses “nobodies”, the humble ordinary people, to expose the hollowness of our celebrity?

God could have sent his son emerging from the dry ice on a Saturday night, sprinkled with glitter, voted for by popularity and surrounded by adulation.

Instead God sent an innocent baby who lived most of his life in obscurity and died the cruellest of deaths.

But remember…

Even when God appears foolish, he is wiser than everyone else, and even when God appears weak, he is stronger than everyone else.”

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