Tonight's final installment: "Angels, Why This Jam-boree?"
Tonight was the annual Children's Ministries Christmas Program. Actually, in theory, it takes in all of the Christian Education departments (teens, adults, and children). When the teens participate, we can usually count on something rousing and unsusual. Tonight was no exception. Coming on the stage to "We Like to Move It" from the movie Madagascar, the combined Middle School (6th-8th grade) and High School youth groups moved swiftly to an air-guitar rendition of "The 12 Days of Christmas" by Reliant K. This was followed by Feliz Navidad from the "Veggie Tales Christmas" CD.
The adults didn't have a portion, so we recruited 9 of them from the audience to hold the letters in "CHRISTMAS" while we read what each letter stood for (got that one from Kidology!).
And then came the moment we've been waiting for: the Christmas Pageant! Let me say at the outset that I love kids acting out the Nativity story. I love the bathtowels on the shepherds heads and the stilted dialogue and the missed cues. There's a charm to an old fashioned children's Christmas pageant that cannot be equaled by any sophisticated production. Besides, any problems or difficulties we faced could easily have been solved if we had started rehearsals just a little earlier.
All began well. But somehow, someway, our angels didn't want to leave the stage after appearing to the shepherds. They stood there smiling in their beautiful silver and white splendor and didn't leave, in spite of the frantic waves and stage whispers of me and the other teachers. The narrator, not aware that the action on the stage had come to a complete halt, kept reading the passage. The shepherds, who had to go with haste to see the Baby, got caught in an angelic traffic jam.
Eventually, everyone got to where they were supposed to be. And the moms and dads loved every minute. So did I. After the program, I turned to one of our other leaders. He and I shared a shell-shocked look for a second, then burst into laughter!
I wouldn't want a "Week" every season. But aside from some self-evaluation, it's good to know that there are no more programs to produce, costumes to try on, or parts to cast. It's time to relax and celebrate Christmas!