One of my favorite moments at my parish is the hush right before Christmas Eve services begin.
The lights are lowered just a bit as everyone settles in, and eventually the rustling stops and a pregnant pause falls over the congregation. Then, as if out of nowhere, a small voice pipes up at the rear of the church. Her voice unaccompanied in an a cappella solo, a young girl from our congregation carries a doll to the manger, which has taken its place at the base of the altar. As she walks, she sings confidently:
"Away in a manger, no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus lay down his sweet head ...."
When she reaches the front and places the doll in the manger, the congregation stands and the choir processes, and though the lights remain lowered, we all join in her song:
"The cattle are lowing ...."
For me, it's the perfect way to begin the night, with a child leading the way. That is, after all, the essential story of Christmas-that story of God-made-flesh unexpectedly coming on the scene in a no-name town to no-name people.
For more click on: