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Christmas pageant angel and shepherd

Christmas pageant angel and shepherd (Photo credit: mmatins)

Yesterday I shared a few rather funny things that had happened to folks in Church on Christmas or Christmas Eve.

But the funniest memories I have are of the Children’s Christmas Pageants in my church growing up.

The long hours of memorizing, and enunciating and practicing and projecting our voices … and that was just at home. I remember some of them to this very day.

O holy Child of Bethlehem,
Descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us to-day.
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us,
Our Lord Emmanuel.

Yes, it’s the fourth verse of O Little Town of Bethlehem. But I didn’t know.

“Comfort ye, comfort my people says your God”, was part of another reading I had to memorize and practice over and over. COMfort ye COMfort my people. Over and over.

I sometimes think of that one as I am enunciating some of the things on a radio shift. It trained me well, I think.

But then, years later, I was an observer. In those years before my own children came along. And me, sitting next to my Mother … laughing … and trying really hard not to giggle … but seriously … how could we resist?

In the totally packed church, we could not really see the little shepherds as they made their way to the front. We did however, see the two foot tall children by virtue of their five foot staffs … marching down the aisle.

So the giggling started at these hooked shepherd staffs appearing as though they were walking themselves.

Once at the front, one enthusiastic three-year old shepherd was anxious to say his lines. They were, actually “Hurry, Go Quickly”  … and I seem to recall that they had something to do with hurrying to or away from the manger.

He grabbed the microphone, stuck it wholly into his mouth and yelled with his lisp “HUWWY, GO QUICKWY, HUWWY”.

The rafters shook. So did my shoulders.

The choir director … the one who unceremoniously had told me years before in Junior Choir that there was no Santa Claus … I wasn’t actually sure until then … at any rate, he “composed” a rendition of Tonight, Tonight from West Side Story.

Somehow his substituting of words in homage to Christmas Eve Night just didn’t cut it. And we giggled.

One year he and the Pastor, who fancied himself a dramatist of sorts, wrote a pulpit drama — of the times leading up to when Jesus was born.

I don’t remember all of it. I do remember that it was badly written and performed.

Specifically, I remember the following lines, which have become a family joke for the years ever since.

Three Kings: “We have been traveling for three years to get here”
Mary: “Great, can you stay for lunch?”

Yes. Seriously.

We laughed. A lot.

Reverently, of course.