From heaven to earth

by DanWolgemuth on December 3, 2010

“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” ~ Philippians 2:4-7 (ESV)

Mary had reluctantly agreed to be a part of a skit that I had prepared for the Youth for Christ/USA Christmas program. The platform was set with two overstuffed chairs that were located center stage. A substantial jazz band with five vocalists was immediately behind us. The script included three interspersed worship songs and a surprise guest just after the second song.

Malia, our granddaughter who is nearly three years old, was the surprise. I had written her into the performance knowing the inherent risks that such a step might introduce. I wanted her to join me on stage, to sit in my lap, to listen attentively as I read to her… and then to join a chorus of singing Holy, Holy, Holy.

I had talked her through the flow, but there was no way to prepare her for what it would be like to execute the plan with 150 strangers in the room and a significant crowd on the stage. Andrew and Chrissy (Malia’s parents) found two empty seats about thirty feet off of the left side of the stage.

I moved through the script until the moment when I would deliver my cue… “Hey, Mary, did you hear somebody at the door?” And with that, Malia was to enter. What I hadn’t counted on, or prepped her for was THE WALK; the thirty feet between the reassuring arms of her father and the familiar and welcome lap of her Pops.

Andrew released her and with focused resolve she began her march in my direction. She was invisible at first… her tiny frame hidden among the tables, chairs, and adult bodies. Her eyes locked on mine as she moved. She walked without official invitation… there was no coaxing; I had to remain in character and on script. For thirty feet; thirty very, very long feet.

Yes, I scooped her up. Yes, she sat tenderly in my lap. Yes, she attentively listened as I read to her in the oddest of situations. And yes, she even pushed out some of the beautiful lyrics of the first verse of “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

But it was the thirty feet that I will remember. The thirty feet without companionship. The thirty feet of silence. From safety… from comfort… from familiarity… into the void. To be part of a story. A powerful and beautiful story.

Across the abyss. Into the wilderness. From heaven to earth.

Jesus left the throne room… He left the arms of His Father to bring the embrace of grace. He walked the thirty feet. For us. For hope. For love.

It was Malia’s first Christmas program… and little did any of us know that she would play the role of Jesus.

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