Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Joys #2 - Church Christmas Pageants

I have always loved Christmas presentations of all kinds.  I have participated in many myself, and have enjoyed the experience of being part of a living Christmas tree, and in the background as accompaniment to the Christmas story.  My favorites are the children's programs and my own children have provided some of the most interesting memories.  There is a certain level of stress involved before your own child takes the stage.  Hoping that the angel wings will stay put, the halo won't get caught in the scenery, and your husband's bathrobe won't provide the perfect opportunity for tripping can put you in a state of hypervigilance.  My own nervous tendencies have probably contributed to the pageant mishaps in our family.

Two cases in point:

The angel wings were lovely and attached as instructed.  The halo was attached to the headband.  The child truly looked like an angel.  She was ready to perform and I left her in the backstage area, confident that everything would go well.  Her sister's Sunday School class sang their sweet songs and I knew that the next group would do equally well.  The angels entered from the right.  My child was not among them.  I was in the middle section of seats and fought the temptation to climb over those in front of me to find out what was wrong.  Then, there she was -- running onto the stage and taking her place.  I didn't have to ask what had delayed her; part of her white angel robe was tucked into her panties.  The group's performance was -- well, angelic.  And so was she.

Another time involved a peppy song which was emphasized by enthusiastic clapping of hands.  Delightful!  But why was my child clapping by holding one hand open and bringing the other down in a vertical motion instead of the sideways clapping of the other children?  And why was she watching her hands carefully with each clap instead of keeping her eyes on the choir director or searching for her parents?  It was as if she were trying to kill a bug that had landed in her hand.  At least she wasn't picking her nose, I reasoned.  Then it came to me.  She had a loose tooth that she had been wiggling all day.  It was still in her mouth when we left the house.  The tooth was in her hand and she didn't want to lose it!  The up and down clapping was insurance that the tooth fairy would come. 

These stories are illustrative of my own joy in children's pageants now that my children are grown.  I can enjoy the performances of my grandchildren and the young members of our church without worrying about what could go wrong, while having the hard-won wisdom of knowing that those little incidents make the our Christmas Joys even more "perfectly imperfect."

May you have some happy pageant experiences this year!


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