“The Best (Worst) Christmas Pageant Ever”
I’ve been looking for a particular Christmas book for years, not in the ‘hell bent for leather’ way I ride a horse (long story, another post, ok?), but in the “Gee, it’s Christmas and I heard that book is good so why can’t I find it’” way. Can you figure out how many years I’ve been idly looking for this particular Christmas book? I’ll give you some hints: The type size in the book is about 14 point and it’s 108 pages long. Give up? I’ve had this particular book listed in my “Books to Buy, Rent or Borrow” book for ten years – since my teenagers were little!
Author Barbara Robinson tells us about the Herdman kids, six untamed and unsupervised ruffians, who roll into their local church one December because they heard if you participate in church you get free cake (coffee hour). The kids end up in all the major roles (by threatening every other kids there) in the annual Christmas pageant, even though they know absolutely nothing about the Christmas story. With the usual director laid up with a broken leg, the stand-in Mom director takes on the kids with surprising results while the rest of the parish children and adults watch and wait for the “inevitable” trouble to ensue.
Once they learn that Mary and Joseph had to sleep in a barn (no room at the inn) and Baby Jesus was tied up (swaddling clothes) and put in a feedbox (manager) the Herdmans went wild with fury at the treatment of the Holy Family.
And after learning that the three kings were sent by King Herod to locate the Christ child so he could be killed. . .well, all I can say is that it’s a good thing Herod wasn’t depicted in the play because the kid playing him wouldn’t have made it out alive.
It’s a doozy of a story. I laughed, I shook my head, and ultimately I thought about the Herdmans and how much they had missed in their lives without a church connection. That said, they gave everyone in the congregation a new appreciation for the Christmas Story. I plan to read the slim volume out loud with my teens because I know they’ll enjoy it. What about you? Read the story. Let me know what you think.