If a smile can stretch a mile, and laughter is good for the soul, then my grand childrens' Christmas pageant will go down in history as one that warmed the hearts and tickled the souls of young and old alike in a little, rural Missouri church, in December, 2000.
The Sunday School kids were assigned specific roles and had been practicing for weeks for the Nativity pageant. My eleven year old granddaughter's striped shepherd's costume hung from a hook on her door, and when I came to visit, she babbled on and on about her role and the "big cane" she would carry.
On that cold, snowy night, the church pews were filled to capacity. I arrived at the old country church with camera in hand, anxious to take pictures of my little angel, but the little dickens chickened out at the last moment. He sat in the pew, a big mama's boy snuggled under my daughter’s arm. When the organist played Silent Night, the congregation turned and gazed at the children as they entered the sanctuary. It was a very solemn, humbling moment.
"And on that night in a stable in Bethlehem, Baby Jesus was born. They wrapped him up in swaddling clothes." She paused and waited as "Mary" haphazardly wrapped a nude doll in a dish towel and handed him to "Joseph" an over grown, embarrassed, and reluctant thirteen year old who didn't want to be caught dead holding a doll even if it was the baby Jesus. He held the doll at arm's length as if it had cooties. People snickered, but the teacher continued.
The narrator continued, "Out in the fields, the angel spoke to the shepherds tending their sheep." My granddaughter led the procession as she and her classmates, dressed in flowing robes, their heads wrapped in scarves, entered carrying wooden staffs and cardboard sheep. When Austin spied his sister, he shouted excitedly, "Mom! Look, here comes Ashley and she’s a German Shepherd!"