I love church Christmas pageants. What I do not love is when parents get crazy and try to ‘one up each other’ in creating elaborate costumes or fancy outfits. When we lived in the South, it was common practice for parents to buy spectacular one-of-a-kind smocked dresses for their little girls to be angels in the church pageant.
I remember helping out one year and a little girl was crying her eyes out. She did not have a fancy white dress to play an angel, instead she had a white pillowcase with the head and arms cut out. She was so embarrassed and I felt sick for her. I decided that when my priest was in charge, things would be different.
At our church here in Portugal, they haven’t had a pageant in probably 15 years. I decided that we would host a ‘come as you are’ pageant. I have a simple script that only a narrator reads from and all the other parts are handed out to the kids in the audience. I supplied the costumes so everyone could be included. I had costumes for shepherds, angels, donkeys, kings, Mary and Joseph. I was worried that not enough kids would come to the Christmas Eve service, but as God would have it, it was a full house.
The kids were so excited to be a part of the telling of the birth of Jesus. Parents were beaming to see their little stars on display. We had kids as young as 16 months old to a teenager of 18. My Pippa was Mary and Maggie was a narrator. My own parents were here to see their grandkids squirm and giggle at the front of the church. No one worried about the staging or having a stray donkey wander off the stage. It was chaos and it was perfect.
I really think all pageants should be this relaxed. It’s not about the costumes, it’s about Christmas and the joy it brings.