This was our 5th year of telling the story of that wondrous night some 2000 years ago when Jesus came to earth as a baby to be our Savior! You would think that each year of telling the story would bring the same results and the same memories but that is not the case! God continues to grow us even though by now most of us can recite it all by heart!
Let’s take a walk through all the prior years of NIB – just a few memories that need not be forgotten.
NIB 2007 – the very first one for WBC – we were without a pastor and using pulpit supply at the time. There was some distress among the flock wondering in the dark without a visible shepherd to keep the herd in line. It was the most primitive of set designs as we attempted to reenact that special night for the first time as an outreach program. It took weeks to prepare for and we spent many long hours together! It came together and despite the weather and a few glitches – we successfully told the story night after night to the visitors. But the amazing thing that happened in year one was that God took a scared flock and transformed them into a family – a true family! We told the story of the love of God sending Jesus to save us and in essence was given that love for each other! – Priceless memories – Thank you Lord!
NIB 2008 – Bigger sets and live animals….fun fun fun for those in charge of the animals! Lots of hard work..beautiful tents and backdrops….cold, hot, rain – the show must go on and it did!! What a blessing it was despite the hard work and the weather! The story was shared and once again we grew closer to the Lord and to each other! This year yielded me a photo that will forever be one of my favorite pictures – Ashley as the angel, Lex as Joseph and Kathryn Ray as Mary! Thank you Ms. Sheila for capturing that memory on film!
NIB 2009 – A new pastor and a new beginning as we gathered together once again to share the story for one more season! Lots of set building and reworking of the event but somehow again the Lord showed us how to grow in Him and as a family of God all with one purpose of sharing the gospel. Our first real live baby Jesus this year and he was beautiful! Numerous visitors remarked about the authenicty of having a real baby there. May we never forget that the baby in the manager was alive and well and grew up to be the savior of the world.
NIB 2010 – Expanding once again with awesome sets and lots of fellowship time preparing for the live nights! We brought life back into the old white building! We encompassed most of the church building this year and enhanced the outside dramatically. Most all of WBC contributed from set design, to cooking food, to character roles, to golf cart attendants, to ALL who participated – the numbers just kept growing. Again, we were blessed with a real baby to portray baby Jesus and his parents to fill the roles of Mary and Joseph – how beautiful the scene was – how real it felt to walk up to the stable and find a mother and father with true love for their baby laying there….goosebumps still today!
What does the next year bring – I don’t know? How could be possibly tell the story again? What would be different this time? What will make a difference in the lives of those that are visiting here? How do we make them understand the importance of this story – I don’t know but God does! It seems to me that God is using NIB to help WBC as much as He is using it to plant seeds in those who visit with us.
How do I know this? Let me share just one more story – in the 5th year at the manger a little boy (who had been to NIB four times) wanted to give baby Jesus a gift…He asked if he could leave his apple there for Jesus. Now anyone who know anything about babies knows that they cannot eat apples as newborns but that is not the point. The point is that young man – wanted to give back to Jesus something that he had and he did so with love! Just when you think that telling the story again cant surprise you – think again! God is always finding ways to amaze us and grow us and love us! Thank you Lord!
So I leave you with this….Go tell it on the mountain over the hills and EVERYWHERE! Go tell it on the mountain that JESUS CHRIST is born!!!