NORMAN — Editor’s note: The following story is an account of a Nativity play presented Dec. 19, 1965, by children of the First Presbyterian Church in Norman. It first appeared in The Norman Transcript on Dec. 20, 1965, and was reprinted on Dec. 16, 1966. It has been reprinted in newspapers all across the country. The story also won the Muchmore Award for the best news story in an Associated Press newspaper.
A preschool version of the Christmas Story, complete with more than a few last minute improvisations, unfolded before a delighted audience at the First Presbyterian Church Sunday night.
The pageant of the Nativity, presented by members of the Cherub and Chapel choirs, in general had proceeded well at dress rehearsal, Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, wise men and other 4- and 5-year-olds in the cast had run more or less smoothly through their assigned parts. The Chapel Choir and a narrator provided the background, and except for minor entanglements with flowing robes and headdresses, few problems were encountered.
Then the Big Night arrived.
The first hint of trouble came even before the formal action opened when one of the younger members of the Cherub Choir, a boy of about 2, took a fancy to the doll representing the infant Jesus lying in the manger. Clambering on stage he made a beeline for the crib and was diverted from his goal only by the action of an alert father.
The innkeeper, exhibiting a lively proprietary interest in the stable, practiced leaping about the freshly strewn hay until the arrival of Mary and Joseph, whom he escorted proudly to seats beside the crib.
The shepherds and white-robed angels arrived soon after. And it was then that the young Cherub, perhaps encouraged by his part as one of the children come to adore the Christ child, decided on another try for the object of his affections in the manger.