Friday, December 19, 2014

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

Christmas Eve 2004
For the past 12 years, Christmas Eve has been marked by the 4 PM Christmas pageant at church. I am the Cecil B. DeMille of this spectacle, featuring a cast of young performers ages 4 and up. We run on one rehearsal. The only speaking parts are narrations. Mary, Joe and the gang emote silently as they traipse down the "road" to the manger.

From time to time, we’ve had a bit of backstage drama, mostly in the form of a mis-matched Holy Couple. I have photographic evidence that Jill Stevens and Devin Griffin would NOT have fared well playing The Newlywed Game. Those forced smiles through gritted teeth! That undercurrent of "I'm not rocking the baby, YOU rock the baby!" In real life, young Jesus would have ended up on a therapist's couch.

The tradition is to have a "live" Baby Jesus. Many young moms have been prescient enough to deliver in October, the optimum age for our tiny Star of the Show: not yet crawling, yet sturdy enough not to cause cardiac arrest (mine) when carried to the cradle by a 6th grade Head Angel. One year Jesus was Eliza Russell, at 4 months old a bit long in the tooth (she could only be quieted by being given a bulletin, which she proceeded to wave back and forth for the duration of the pageant). One year we were gifted with twins, Rileigh and Austin Smith. That was awesome, knowing we had an understudy in the wings in the event of infant meltdown.

This year, little Daniel Adebayo will be carried by Head Angel Jillian Jacoby, and I have every confidence in her ability to ferry Baby J. safely from Point A to Point B (don't wear heels, Jillian!) The supporting cast should do fine, especially since their teachers will sit in the back of the church with them to cue their entrances.

As I watch my 12th pageant unfold, I know I will be struck by the passage of time. 6th grade Mary, Jill Stevens, is getting married in June. Baby Jesus, Eliza Russell, is in 5th grade now. Where did the years go? I mean, I still FEEL 46. But I am almost 58 now. And all of my much-loved little ones are growing up, way too fast.

It makes me wonder: what does God think of this? Is He amused and touched by the children's worship? Does He, like me, marvel as they age over the years? I know that He is eternal, beyond the boundaries of time and space, but I still believe He has a soft spot for His kids on Earth, and marks their growth with pride and even a little pang. After all, He is their Abba (Daddy), and Daddies love their children in such a special way.

Christmas Eve 2008

So, Christmas Eve: bobby-pins flying (darn those halos!), earnest young pianists cranking out the prelude music (and yes, we'll take Jingle Bell Rock.) Once more, Christ is born. Let all the world rejoice.

Monday, December 1, 2014


The Family Seyfried (Aiden got a pass at speaking this year)
Written Saturday night:

As of today we have a new Seyfried post-Thanksgiving activity .  A few weeks ago, we all got an email from Evan, suggesting we each prepare a 5-10 minute talk explaining something to present to the clan this evening. Now, Evan is an encyclopedia of info on everything from nuclear fission to Russian literature to artisanal breadmaking, so no doubt his talk will be fascinating. Everyone else in the fam knows a lot, about a great many things, as well; for them it will just be a matter of selecting from a variety of topics.

And me? What, exactly, am I an expert on? Alas, nothing springs to mind. I know zero about how anything works, nor am I particularly curious to find out. My proudest production (my children) was the result of much trial and error and MUCH good fortune. Otherwise? I am a decent cook (but entirely recipe-bound), an OK church worker (though totally untrained), a so-so actress (ditto) and a good-enough writer (maybe). Aaaand that’s about it.

I seem to be losing ground as I get older, too. Forget attaining wisdom with age for me! I have completely lost my ability to speak a foreign language, to drive a car with a manual transmission, to swim (not that I was ever particularly buoyant, but time was when I could at least do one lap in the pool without my lungs exploding). Fast-forward 10 years and I will probably be hard-pressed to remember how to dress myself.

Which brings me to tonight. While I would love to just sit back and listen to my offspring instruct us all, I know I will be expected to make some sort of contribution. I guess I can do it (it’s only five minutes, right?), so I’d better stop blogging and think about what to say. Stay tuned for an update!


So here’s how it went down…

PJ was working and unable to participate:-(

I went first and talked about the art of writing and delivering a children’s sermon.

Steve shared fascinating tidbits from his study of the Reformation (and the run-up to).

Evan schooled us in why some billionaires with a social reform agenda still can’t effect governmental change the way you’d think they could, and how companies buy back their own stock and drive up demand.

Rose gave us the lowdown on dialogue sound editing in film (tedious, meticulous, who forgot to unplug the refrigerator in the restaurant kitchen scene?)

Yaj gave us a great breakdown on the dos and don’t of recycling (inspired by the critical importance of such in her island nation of Taiwan).

Julie discussed her widely varied work experiences, what she’s learning in college about business, and why she plans to defer her bed-and-breakfast owning dream.

Sheridan showed us why he is a gifted teacher, waxing both eloquent and enthusiastic about patterns and deviations in pop and classical music.

For me, this intellectual exercise beat any hike we could have taken today. Thank you, family!!