The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


The Christmas barn

Before a tornado blew angels flew & the cows went moo

We called it “the Christmas barn.”

It was just an ordinary working barn most days of the year, a cute red structure with a loft. But on one night each December for the past five years, the barn became the stage for our Willow Creek Lutheran Church’s children’s program near Dell Rapids, S.D.

Illustration by Candice Hartsough McDonaldIn June a tornado swiped the barn off its foundation and scattered it across fields and around fences. While the storm changed the farm where the barn stood and made us relocate this year’s program, it hasn’t changed the Christmas story.

Before the storm, we started our program in our country church basement—a Bethlehem Inn for the evening—where adults and older teens played the parts of the innkeeper, his wife and shepherds. Guests ate soup in the candlelit fellowship hall until they were urged by three young shepherds to “Come follow the star.”

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February issue


Embracing diversity