It began with a simple email to Jane Chapman, illustrator of GOODNIGHT, ARK and GOODNIGHT, MANGER. In my note I wished her a Merry Christmas and mentioned how blessed I felt to have several Christmas storytime events in place for December, despite the pandemic. I said how sharing our book, GOODNIGHT, MANGER, about putting a fussy, overtired baby Jesus to sleep in a very busy stable, has become one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season. I mean, really, I can think of nothing better than sharing the good news of Jesus through story! It’s how I came to know Jesus – through someone telling me the story!
Her answer was simple: “Just a thought, but if you ever want me to turn up at a virtual GM Christmas story time and the time zones aren’t too far apart, I’d love to come! xo, Jane”
My response? “Oh, my goodness, that would be so special!!! I’d love that!”
New Providence Children’s Ministry Director, Christine Voegeli, was delighted with the idea of expanding the virtual story time we had already arranged to include a visit with Jane. All the children from church were invited, as well the kids from the church affiliated preschool and kindergarten- and even a few friends and family from far away. We had a great turn out!
Here are a few pictures of the event, just for fun. Merry Christmas everyone!
Christine opened us in prayer, then I introduced the story with my puppet companion Rooster. I also had several figures from our nativity set by my side so I could share the inspiration behind the story. If you’re curious, here’s a post about that.
Next, Jane read the story to us with perfect pacing and heart. What a blessing! And we all loved her British accent, of course.
Then it was time for the drawing lesson. I’m omitting their sweet faces for privacy, but please just imagine how entranced and sweetly intense the children were, each in their own little box, as Jane instructed us step by step how to draw our mice And after each step, she asked the children to hold up their mice and they did. It was virtual engagement at its best!
And here are some finished drawings by the kids (and one by me.)
After the drawing lesson, I shared how to make the Wide Awake Baby Jesus crafts that each child had picked up at the church ahead of time. Here’s the link, if you want to make one.
We closed with a short prayer. Then, no one wanted to get off, so we all lingered a bit, enjoying each other’s company. A lovely way to spend an afternoon. Thank you to all who came, and especially to Jane, who made her special appearance all the way from England.