Why Christmas Pageants Are a Gift
As a teenager, needless to say, many years ago, I was asked to be one of the kings at my church's Christmas pageant. The director, the rector's wife, was very keen on we "kings" behaving "regally"! We were taught how to carry ourselves with great dignity, and we were to march deliberately and slowly down the center aisle of the church, toward the creche at the foot of the chancel steps. "No! Too fast. go back and start over again!" And we did again and again..
At the rehearsals (several were required), the rector, who was also a very good organist, would play "We Three Kings" exaggerating the beat so we could almost feel the camel's footsteps...up and down, up and down, marching on toward Bethlehem. There was something about the beat of the music and about the seriousness with which the rector's wife took our roles as kings, that by the time of the pageant itself, we were really into it!
The rector's wife, who was herself quite a thespian, seemed over the years to have garnered quite a collection of exotic silks and other colorful fabrics so that when we were finally robed in our king costumes, we not only looked like real kings, we felt like it.
As I write this Epiphany message, I have fond, almost palpable memories of that experience which were imprinted upon me so many years ago, and which stay with me to this day. Epiphany is the time when the gifts of the "kings" (a.k.a Magi, Wise Men) were brought to honor the Child of Bethlehem. Being asked to participate in that pageant was itself a gift to me which has proven to be timeless..
I think of our Nativity Pageant of a few days ago and the youngsters who participated in it under the direction of Katrina McGibney. I have a feeling that the love and care with which those children were shepherded (including the lamb who delightfully, continually went astray), even years from now, will be woven into fond memories of All Saints at Christmas.