For The Someday Book

Why I Love the Christmas Pageant

Posted on: December 20, 2009

I look forward to Christmas pageant Sunday. Not because I just get a Sunday off from preaching (which is nice), but because I just get to be a mom in church for awhile. Sure, I have to run the rest of the service–but from the time the pageant starts until the singing of the final carol, I slip into the pew next to my son. I get to handle his wiggling, shush his talking, introduce him to the hymnal, answer his questions and coax him to wear the shepherd’s hat and walk down the aisle with the other kids.

Being a preacher’s kid can be tough. Everyone knows you, and thinks you should know them and talk to them like the preacher does. Everyone expects you to have exemplary behavior, and everyone is always paying attention. This is only complicated by the fact that I am not there to sit next to him in worship to coach him along. J does not come to church regularly, so he sits with the nursery worker and her family. So far, as he approaches his 3rd birthday, B has risen to the challenge and exceeded all reasonable expectations for good manners and church decorum.

But I always treasure these (few) days when I get to be the parent in the pew. Like every other mom, I wanted him to be willing to put on the darling angel garland or brown fabric square and rough yarn that will transform him into a shepherd, to parade down the aisle and participate in the pageant. Like every young child, he resisted. Definitely no headgear for him, but his curiosity was piqued enough to go join the gaggle of kids up front to see the baby Jesus. And the three minutes I spent on the floor by the front pew, where I had walked him up front, where he was turning around to me and deciding whether to stay or go, pointing at the baby Jesus and smiling at me–those three minutes were priceless.

And holding him, wiggling and restless in the back, waiting for his chance to go up front, when I can’t get him to stop talking because he’s so excited, when he whispers in my ear, “Look, Mommy! The ornaments on the tree are dancing!” because one of the angels has her wings caught on a low branch, I know why I love the Christmas pageant every year. I get to be mom, and nothing else, even for just a little while.

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About Me

I am a full-time pastor in the United Church of Christ, mother of a young child (B.), married to an aspiring academic and curmudgeon (J.). I live by faith, intuition and intellect. I follow politics, football and the Boston Red Sox. I like to talk about progressive issues, theological concerns, church life, the impact of technology and media, pop culture and books.

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