“Greeting Jesus,” Liahona, December 2016
After weeks of anticipation, it was finally Christmas Eve. Almost our whole family was with us—Grandma and Grandpa Fletcher, our three daughters and their husbands and children. It was getting dark and the streets were lighting up. Houses sparkled with beautiful decorations while Christmas trees twinkled happily in the windows.
We were getting ready to go to the Nativity Pageant, which the Church had presented for many years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Every Christmas Eve we looked forward to going to the outdoor pageant that was complete with donkeys, sheep, Wise Men, shepherds, Roman soldiers, angels, and a powerful sound system. It brought the spirit of peace, love, and the real meaning of Christmas to our hectic celebrations.
We arrived at Heritage Park, where the pageant took place, and were soon enjoying the beautiful music of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the story of the Savior’s birth. Lauren, our oldest grandchild, was three at the time. She was captivated by the sights, the sounds, and the story unfolding before us. Our breath clouded the chilly air under clear, starlit skies. We watched as the people playing Joseph and Mary obeyed the decree of Caesar Augustus to go to Bethlehem to be taxed. The woman playing Mary was “great with child” (see Luke 2:5), and the only place they could find to stay was a lowly stable. There, “she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger” (see Luke 2:7). The spotlights swept over the hill where we could see people as shepherds watching “over their flock by night” (see Luke 2:8). Suddenly, an actor dressed as an angel appeared dramatically in the air, a bright light shining on him. Lauren spontaneously cried out in love, “Jesus, it’s me, Lauren!”
Everyone around us heard her greeting and laughed softly, enjoying the surprise. It was an innocent case of mistaken identity, but for us it memorably enhanced the pageant that year. Lauren knew that Jesus knew her, and we were reminded of our knowledge that He does know each one of us. We wondered if Lauren had some memory of her Savior whom she had left three short years earlier. Lauren’s spontaneous greeting gave us hope that we too will recognize Him when we meet Him. Her love for the Savior and His love for Lauren warmed our hearts on that icy Christmas Eve.