In my mind I am 11, but the math says I couldn't have been more than 9 maybe 10. Either way, I was in upper elementary school the year the associate pastor's wife decided to put a new "spin" on the traditional Christmas pageant presented every year at the Christmas Eve service. Preschoolers in cardboard angel wings and bathrobes weren't quiet enough, so we added a bit of creativity.
My best friend, her brother, and I were selected to play three siblings who were so excited for gifts that they missed the true meaning of Christmas. We were visited by a special angel: the associate pastor in a white sweatsuit and the special cardboard wings that were covered in glittered and typically reserved for "the angel of the Lord".
The "angel" narrated the Christmas story to us while our classmates and younger siblings acted it out.
Have you ever read "The Best Christmas Pagent Ever"? If not, you should! While our nativity play wasn't quiet as epic as the one in the book, in my mind, it is close.
My good friend a grade younger than me was selected to play Joespeh and thought himself much to old for the whole production. As a result he spent the entire pageant with his arms crossed and a scowl on his faces The only time he broke his pose is when the Wisemen walked past him. They were supposed to stop and bow down in front of the manger between Marry and Joeseph but I guess we hadn't practiced with every one on the stage. The end result was the wisemen walking right past the baby Jesus doll and kneeling in the only free space, in front of the Christmas tree.
As if the pastor in sparkling wings made for a five year old girl and misguided wisemen didn't make the night memorable enough, my young brother did.
We were down to the last few moments of the pageant when the baby angels parted to reveal a group of kindergarten "shepherds" hitting each other over the heads with their staffs. My 5-6 year old brother (the senior pastor's son) their apparent ring leader.
To this day if you bring up this story my brother will chime in, "What did you expect when you gave five year old boys sticks?" He will then go on to explain that so-and-so called his best friend fat and what else was he supposed to do?!
Oddly enough, I don't remember doing any more Christmas pageants after that. I'm not sure if I simply aged out, blocked them from memory, or if the powers that be decided to try something different after that year. Whatever the reason that was the last time I remember us doing a Christmas production.*
In the years since I have seen a number of Christmas pageants and productions. They have ranged from adorably painful to spectacular but, none can compare to my memories of the year the wisemen bowed down to the presents and my brother started a sword fight onstage.
*The exception being when my sister directed a Christmas musical with the 5-6th grade Sunday school class, but that is another story for another day.