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.

1 comment:

  1. This brings back many memories and a tear to my eye. Thank you for guiding our kings and shepherds and angels all these years!