Christmas pageant

I’m trying to script out the Christmas pageant. We haven’t had one at Fox Valley in a while so we’re going to try it this year.

Being stubborn, I am doing it myself from scratch…the scripting that is. The costumes are what truly scare me about planning these things, but it turns out we have 12 sets of angel wings, and 8 lamb costumes, wise-men presensts and enough shepherd/Joseph/inn-keeper/Mary costumes to outfit a small congregation.

So I thought this would be easy…one, maybe two narrators, kids in in costumes, and adults who basically push the kids in the direction they need to go. To be honest, I want it that simple. Because it’s sweeter that way. I like it when one of the sheep gets distracted and starts to scratch under his fake ears, or when Mary looks at Joseph like she’s no so sure he’s all that great for playing house. Probably, in reality, because I want it to feel like little-church so that I can feed my personal sense of nostalgia.

But I never thought of all these little details in the story and the staging:

  1. You need a space that’s Nazareth and a space that’s Bethlehem, because Gabriel has to visit Mary in one place, and then she and Joseph walk to the other.
  2. And when on earth does the baby Jesus show up? Mary can’t have him when Gabriel is talking, obviously, and the solution of Mary and Joseph walking into Bethlehem with the baby seems pretty good (despite the weirdness of how this fits with what the narrator is saying), but then when do you hand Mary the baby? (We might have a real baby…there are a few candidates…and if so, we can’t just stick little the little one in the manger from the beginning.)
  3. I think we’ll be skipping the circumcision part. Too much explanation involved. (Although, we could then add the role of the mohel, and with a big Sunday School, you can never have too many roles.)
  4. Don’t you wish Anna and Simeon were regular characters in the pageant? Wouldn’t it be sweet to have two older people from the congregation get up and be Anna and Simeon? And then have Simeon bust out singing the “Nunc Dimittis”? In fact, isn’t Luke’s account basically the Broadway musical version with all the canticles? How awesome would that be, a Broadway-style Luke pageant?
  5. We’re going to have a Herod. There’s got to be a bad guy, right? But just up to the point of the wisemen stopping by, and then going home by another route.
  6. Speaking of another route, I’m glad we’re got 5 aisles to work with.
  7. The ending feels abrupt to me (I’m stopping with the . I think I need a short poem or something tacked on the end. Any ideas? Something that would sound just about right in an older child’s voice?

7 Responses to “Christmas pageant”

  1. Kirstin Says:

    Wow. You’ve made this quite the undertaking! For the end, I’d suggest the kids all sing a carol. Good luck!

  2. Erica Says:

    No singing…too complicated. I like the idea, but then we have to practice. (Unless you want to come and direct them!!)

    I did pick music, though: Awake, Awake and Greet the New Morn; Away in a Manger (the version I prefer); In the Bleak Midwinter; Angels We Have Heard on High; O, Come Little Children.

  3. Jim Says:

    What about wrapping up with the first and last verses of “What Child is This?” If you’ve got a young (but not TOO young) child you can trust with a solo, I think it could be real cute:

    (Young child, solo)
    What Child is this who, laid to rest
    On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
    Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
    While shepherds watch are keeping?

    (Rest of kids, in chorus)
    This, this is Christ the King,
    Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
    Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
    The Babe, the Son of Mary.

    (Chorus continues)
    So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
    Come peasant, king to own Him;
    The King of kings salvation brings,
    Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

    (Young child, solo)
    Raise, raise a song on high,
    The virgin sings her lullaby.
    Joy, joy for Christ is born,
    The Babe, the Son of Mary.

  4. Kirstin Says:

    Yeah, if you had a soloist for the versus that would work. Or you could recruit the congregation to sing along as well. I like the idea of ending with Joy to the World. Hey, if you got me a plane ticket, I would direct the singing! It would be well worth it to see you guys. ;)

  5. laura Says:

    Ask youth groups and congregation to sing Joy to the World and a closing and file out song….big Organ.

  6. Meika Says:

    So you’re writing the script, why not Anna and Simeon? They’re part of the story, right? Why AREN’T they in most pageants, now that you mention it – it seems like they’re a little more central than the wise men!

  7. Erica Says:

    You know, I’ve been thinking about it, and maybe next year, we do “The Stuff that Usually Gets Ignored Christmas Pageant”. Or maybe, “The Best Christmas Pageant You’ve Never Seen”. The angel visits Joseph, Elizabeth & Mary, and Anna & Simeon. Same format: a scene a carol. a scene and a carol. etc.