“…Let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95:22 (ESV)
I was one of three brave volunteers who taught refugee kids while their parents took English classes at our church. Taking on this boisterous crew was daunting to all of us. No one was exactly sure how to corral an energetic group of Burundian, Nepali, and Vietnamese youngsters.
They didn’t read, sit down, or behave the way we expected. But they could memorize long passages and dance their hearts out to “Father Abraham”. They listened intently to storytelling, sighing at the end. “What happened next?”
Someone, not me, decided that the forty plus kids would perform at the Christmas party – a multi-cultural potluck. The pastors would see what wonderful things we were achieving.
We glittered cardboard wings so that each girl could get her angel bling on. The boys used odds and ends of fabric to become cattle and shepherds. Hojin could pick out Away in a Manger on the piano and they could recite Luke 2.
The night arrived full of excitement. The angels stood in place, the holy family was at the center, and a mass of critters just wandered around. Then three-year-old Malwi’s head popped up from the makeshift manger, stealing the show. They couldn’t hear each other, so the verses were delivered at different rates. It was a shambles, but their faces beamed with happiness.
Dear Lord, Help us to remember that joy is in the heart, not in the performance.