The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

by Sally Matheny

It was the best Christmas pageant ever. Not because of the angels in their white poster-board wings and crooked tinsel halos. 

Nor was it the tiny, shepherds carrying ninja sticks. Or the wise men wearing refurbished Burger King crowns. 

Even though Mary held the baby doll as if it was Jesus himself; that year, it was all about Joseph.

Three siblings began attending our church. They came to VBS in the summer and continued to come almost every Sunday, as long as they had a ride.

They didn’t maintain a rowdiness like the Herdman family in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. However, like the Herdmans, they did come from a less fortunate home.
Cigarette and kerosene fumes infused their faded clothes. Caring Sunday school teachers often washed dirt from their little hands and faces. Others brought the children coats for the winter.
The three-year-old boy was, of course, the most energetic. The raspy-speaking four-year-old girl always wore a sheepish grin . Nick, the oldest, seemed quiet and reflective for a six-year-old boy. All three appeared to enjoy coming to church.
Since a parishioner usually brought them, we never met the children’s parents. That is, until the night of the Christmas pageant.
Someone offered to pick up the children but Nick declined stating his parents would be coming to watch them in the program. We were excited about finally meeting the parents of these precious children.
A sea of red and green Christmas-attire in the congregation made the children’s parents obvious. Their pierced, tattooed body parts donned black leather for the occasion. Welcomed warmly—by most—they settled in to watch their children transform into an angel, a shepherd, and Joseph.
The play went well. The children were adorable; the story and songs were sweet.