Lance’s Last Christmas Gift to Us All

How our Nativity was saved by a heavenly gift

Jesus birth

Many years ago, our ward decided that we needed to put on a live Nativity performance for our community as a way for all of us to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Since my husband, Lance, had training in lighting and sound, he was asked to be in charge of that aspect. Lance was overjoyed to be a part of this production because Christmas was his very favorite time of year. It was a beautifully produced, outdoor Nativity.


Our family always waited until Lance got home about 8:30 pm before we began our Christmas Eve activities. Our children have wonderful memories of their Dad’s involvement in this and as they became old enough, they also were able to be a part of the Nativity as they portrayed shepherds or angels.

After a few years, it was decided to share the opportunity to run and produce this event with the other wards in our stake. Because of that, it had been a few years since Lance had run the sound and lighting but we, as a family, always went each Christmas Eve to watch the beautiful portrayal of the Savior’s birth.


Christmas 2021

Fast forward to Christmas 2021. The Nativity pageant had been unable to be held for two years due to the COVID pandemic. It was already the first few days of December 2021 when it was decided that it would be alright to hold it.

Lance was very ill in the hospital struggling with a rare bone marrow cancer and its associated challenges when we received an email asking for help. It was already late and Lance, having done it so many times, knew how the lighting was to be done. It involved many technical transitions in lighting due to the moving elements, still vignettes, moving actors, and coordination with the music and script.

Mary and Joseph

Shepherds, sheep, angels, Mary and Joseph and a donkey, the innkeeper, the star in the heaven, the birth of the Christ child, the arrival of the shepherds and then the wisemen, were all needing lighting of various kinds to properly present the Nativity. The lighting equipment was placed on a high, winterized scaffolding, and even its location was a crucial problem. It was all very complex.

Those in charge knew about Lance’s condition but wondered if there was any way that he could remember. When I asked him if he could remember, he said “no.” His condition had him on very strong pain medication and his memory was not what it had been in the past.

He then thought about it for a while and as we slowly talked through the program music and scenes, he was able to miraculously remember all the lighting details. In his condition he shouldn’t have been able to communicate or even think about the details, but he did, and saved the Nativity production, our gift to the community.


Lance passed away December 18 only a few days after he had done this. The nativity was produced and our family was at the first viewing of it on the evening of December 22 just after Lance’s funeral earlier that day. The Nativity lighting was dedicated to Lance that night.


Many tears of gratitude were shed for the blessing of knowing that although he hadn’t been able to physically be there, he was still assisting from his home in heaven. What an amazing gift we had been given and recognize our Heavenly Father’s hand in all of this.

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14).]