My son’s history with Christmas pageants has not been exactly merry.
It all started when he was only six months old. A church in Seattle asked if they could “borrow” him to represent the baby Jesus in the scene where the Three Wise Men come bearing gifts. The first issue came when I thought that they had a costume for him and they thought I’d provide one. So, “Jesus” wore a white turtleneck and gray Osh Kosh overalls. Plus, he was having NOTHING to do with being swaddled!
The next issue came when he decided he didn’t like the lovely lady who was playing Mary. We could hear him bellowing from the audience before he was even carried onstage. And, apparently gold, frankincense and myrrh didn’t thrill him either because he continued his caterwauling after the Magi arrived. I’m quite sure the real Jesus was wayyyy more appreciative!
The next pageant fiasco occurred when my son was 2 ½. At the time, we attended a very stiff and staid church. Their Christmas programs were traditional and didn’t deviate from one year to the next. Until … my son showed up.
The older kids were naturally cast in the important parts and the young ones were angels and shepherds. All the “littles” had to do was walk across the stage and stand behind the Nativity scene. Easy! What could go wrong?
First, my son got stage fright and announced right before the service that he did not want to be a shepherd after all. I said, “Oh, no, Mommy is so sad, I wanted to take your picture up on stage.” Which I thought was brilliant because my son very grudgingly agreed to follow his “angel” sisters to their designated spot behind the manger.
Everything started well. Mary, Joseph and the animals all filed serenely onto the stage. My daughters, in cardboard wings and crooked halos, stood in their assigned spots too. And, then my son walked to the very center of the stage and stood, blocking everyone, right in the spotlight. He cupped his little hands over his eyes (now blinded by the floodlight) and in a loud stage whisper began calling me: “Mom? Mommmm! Take my picture!” So much for my brilliant ideas.
His sisters were horrified and began hissing at him to get to his spot. “No!” he yelled, “Mom has to take my picture!” And, my three began fighting on stage. The girls were looking at me for help to try and get their little brother to his assigned place, and my son was equally determined to stay in place until I took that darn picture I told him I wanted. I finally had to slither out of my seat and snap a quick picture so the show could continue. It was mortifying. Especially when I looked around at the stern, unsmiling faces around me. We left that church soon after and I doubt anyone missed us!
The third (and thankfully last!) Christmas pageant was when my son was in Pre-K. He was chosen to be Joseph. He told me once again that he had no intention of going on stage and this time he didn’t care if I wanted a picture or not!
I spent the next week talking about what an honor it was to be chosen to be Joseph. I told him about Joseph’s amazing story and how very important he was. My little son was duly impressed and finally agreed to do his part.
The day of the Christmas program arrived. The aisle down to the stage was a long one and I heard the chuckles before my son came into sight. Mary was adorable, all wrapped in blue sheets and smiling sweetly. The cutest little guy in a donkey suit was crawling next to her. And, there was Joseph, scowling like he was being led to execution! Once onstage, he crossed his arms in defiance and continued scowling at everyone and everything in his sight. Yeah, take a picture of THIS, mom!
At least this time the audience laughed.
After that year, participation in the Christmas plays was voluntary and my son retired from his life as an “actor”. And, every time they sent the sign-up notices home for Christmas Pageant try-outs, I crumpled them up and took great joy in throwing them in the garbage can!
What about you? Do you have any good Christmas Play stories? PLEASE tell me I’m not the only one!