Two years ago, our son Ben was cast as Joseph for the reception class school nativity. The two weeks beforehand were incredibly nerve-racking. Little Ben would come home from school crying that he didn’t want to be Joseph.
He wanted to be a sheep. I spoke to his teacher and she assured me that he was really enjoying rehearsals and knew all of his lines.
But at home the tears continued. The lines were rehearsed the costume was bought, Ben agreed to be Joseph and then changed his mind, then agreed again.
He was so nervous on the morning of the dress rehearsal that they allowed me to come into to school to watch him.
He was fabulous.
Mary was played by a four-year-old who did a brilliant impression of a stroppy pregnant teenager, complaining, “But I am tired do we have to go?”
In came Ben right on cue:
“I’m sorry Mary but we do, our little donkey will carry you.”
On the night of the main performance I arrived a little distracted. I had checked my phone every five minutes all day, as I was desperately hoping to be called by a social worker, regarding a little girl with Down Syndrome who needed a forever family. Her name was Star, I had seen her picture and spoken to her social worker, who had seemed so enthusiastic, but then had not called back.
As I sat in the chair waiting for the performance to start, I wondered where Star was, who was looking after her and where she would be this time next year.
4 months later, Star came home to us.
A year after that she went to her “settle in to school” day and after the teacher had introduced all the adults in the room, Star jumped to her feet and pointed to a photo pinned to the notice board of a smiling boy and girl dressed as Joseph and Mary.
“My brother Ben.” She shouted and signed to her class mates.
“My brother, Ben.”
And tonight, I stood at the back of the same school hall, watching Star singing and signing all the songs. I am so grateful that we taught her to sign, because although the hall was full and noisy she could see me and I could see her. I knew what she was thinking and she knew how proud I was of her.
I was composed until they came to the encore …. they reprised a calypso carol and I realised I was crying..
Because the God who knew Mary and Joseph, who had used angelic messengers and a Roman census, to get his people to exactly the right place at the right time, knows me.
And he knows my little girl.
He prompted us to start our adoption journey at just the right time. So that we were approved only a matter of weeks before Star’s social workers could start looking for a forever home for her.
I was also crying because it was obvious how many people in that room, (the Head teacher, the TAs, fellow parents, and the school office staff) were rooting for Star and love her.
And because as I looked around the room I could see parents joining in the groovy dancing of the little girl who was centre-stage dressed in a donkey costume..
And I realised that Star brought to the nativity something unique:
Joyful donkey- grooving- dance moves.
Luke 2:10 NIV
 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.