Sounding Joy: Christmas Pageant
Looking at St. Paul’s website today I noticed the “Christmas Pageant Auditions” request. It immediately made me smile at all the memories of joy and excitement I felt as a child & adult as we prepared for the “Christmas Story” weeks in advance of the actual program and years later watching them unfold.
I grew up in a small country church where I was baptized, confirmed, and married. The church probably holds 200 with the balcony overflowing. When I was about 4 or 5 years old, I was to be the angel. I was all dressed in my white garb and halo and even climbed up a ladder covered in a white sheet overlooking the manger scene. I remember then how important a part I thought I had and felt. Afterward the children all received sacks filled with fruit, nuts, candy, and maybe pencils or a small toy. I remember the Christmas story, hymns, excitement, joy, and love that flowed through the church as neighbors, friends, and relatives all wished one another a joyous Christmas as they departed for their homes.
Many years later, in Davenport, I recall teaching Sunday School and getting our class ready for the Christmas Pageant, including my own children. It took a lot of teachers and other members to get all the costumes made, the cast of the manger scene appointed, and dress rehearsals & music accomplished. The excitement was a bit different for me but not for the children. One particular year it was my job to get the Kings down the aisle on the cue of “We Three Kings.” Obviously distracted, I missed the cue and sent them late, telling them to hurry! At coffee hour I overheard a member say how the Kings looked like they were on I-280 going to see baby Jesus! Another stated they thought it was on purpose to send them late as they were an important part of the Christmas story. I smiled and quietly walked away, letting go of my embarrassment, and enjoyed the kids with their cake.
In 2008 I had the privilege to see my grandchildren be sheep at St. Paul’s Christmas Pageant. The excitement and smiles they displayed in their outfits made my heart swell with joy while I remembered my own experience at that age.
As new members this year I feel grateful and humbled to be a part of St. Paul’s congregation. I look forward to growing in this faith journey, making new friends, and sharing in the “Sounding Joy” of what is to come during this Advent Season.
Dee Hillyer is a retired lab tech for Metropolitan Medical Lab. She lives with her husband, Darrell, in Davenport.