Every year one of the most challenging parts of planning our Living Nativity “Greccio” service is finding a baby to play the part of Baby Jesus.
We’re not too particular about whether we find a boy baby or a girl baby to play the role. One year we even had twins, which was great because the first baby started screaming halfway through, and his mom ran up and switched him out with the understudy! Another year we didn’t have a baby lined up in advance, and we begged the parents of a sleeping toddler to let us cast him in the role. He slept through the whole thing.
But this year, our parish business manager gave me the name of a family whose child was recently baptized. I called them and left a message, and eventually got a return call from the dad of the family.
Normally the moms arrange these things, and I have years of experience in describing what will happen, who will be holding the child, how the baby should be dressed, that we will provide a clean and soft white blanket to cover whatever the baby is wearing, that it only takes about 20 minutes and that it is outside and there are real animals.
And normally the baby’s mom will freak out over one or more of these things, and I have to reassure her that her child will not be handled by a snotty-nosed four-year-old but instead by reliable teenage girls, and that the animals will not touch the baby, and that I’ll bring a gallon of hand sanitizer, and that I use hypoallergenic laundry detergent.
But when the dad makes these arrangements, he says things like, “Great!” “No problem!” “Sounds good!”
I’m definitely going to make it a point to talk to the dads in the future when we plan our events.