“I wanted to say ‘thank you” so much for being the Angel for the Christmas music program this year… You showed the whole church what you could do as God’s child first, and also stood for your friends in Glory Club as part of the church. And not only a part, but as the Angel that said the most important words ever!”
Several weeks ago I noticed an audition invitation for the Christmas program in our church bulletin. I felt a gentle nudging to ask Abigail if she wanted to try. She did. Although Abigail has been a part of a small community theater over the last few years, she has little experience with the audition process. Nonetheless, she went to the appointment and read some lines. We were very excited to hear of her acceptance on the first day of rehearsal.
The production centers around the Nine Lessons and Carols, which is an Anglican order of service from the 1800’s, traditionally for Christmas Eve. It has nine specified scripture lessons beginning with the Fall and ending with John1: 1-14. Each lesson is followed by carols. This production uses updated ‘carols’—from a selection from Handel’s Messiah to a rap.
Abigail was given the part as a reader from Lessons Seven and Nine. I believe early scripture memorization through the Awana program strengthened the gift that God seems to have given her for readily remembering lines.
After one of the rehearsals, Abigail’s director said she gets tears in her eyes while watching Abigail. She is reminded of her cousin with Down Syndrome, who recently passed away, and also loved acting. Perhaps the director’s personal experience helped pave the way for Abigail to be in this production.
Although we are primarily interested in seeing that Abigail takes advantage of the opportunities God seems to place before her and have been proud of all her efforts, we are even more excited and somewhat surprised to see a glimmer of God’s bigger picture. We had not thought of her being looked at as a representative of those with disabilities in our Church. Hopefully, this will pave the way for even more inclusion. Also, after seeing Abigail in the production at the church, her director in the community theater is considering starting acting classes for adults with disabilities.
When I think back twenty-two years ago, when we were first told that our daughter had Down Syndrome, we never thought that God would be doing such good things for her and through her. He has been faithful in leading us each step of the way, even when we were not looking to be led. This Christmas will be one we remember for His goodness—that He has a very special place in His heart for our very special children and He delights in doing good things in and through them.