Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Drama of the Incarnation

I took my kids to Christmas pageant rehearsal this morning, then sat back and watched. How amazing to attend a pageant rehearsal and not be responsible for it in any way whatsoever.

The real drama of the day was not the play itself. It never is. The real drama began when a nine year old girl arrived for rehearsal fifteen minutes late. This child attends Sunday school sporadically. She had not been there the last two Sundays and so was not present when most of the information regarding the pageant had been distributed, nor was she there when the important casting decisions were made.

She wanted to be an angel. However, by the time she arrived all the available angel outfits had been taken by children who had been officially cast as angels and had arrived on time. The girl's lower lip began to get trembly and her voice switched into definite whine mode.

The Children's ministry coordinator was simultaneously trying to get twenty kids into their costumes, distribute scripts, hand out props and keep the kids away from the Krispee Kreme donuts that were the treat for AFTER rehearsal. Her ability to deal with this crisis was limited. She looked the girl in the eye and basically said, "You need to get over yourself and choose one of the costumes still available." Not the most sensitive response, to be sure, but understandable given the chaos of the moment.

Now the girl's mother had her own quiet tantrum. She followed the Children's Ministry director around for the remainder of the morning, chiding her for her callous dismissal of her child's needs. After some tense negotiations, they agreed that the girl could be an angel if she could produce her own costume by curtain time tomorrow morning.

Ah, but when this treaty was presented to the girl, she refused to ratify it. She wanted an angel outfit like the other girls were wearing or no deal. Now the power struggle shifted to mother vs. daughter. At this point my kids grabbed their donuts and we left. We'll see tomorrow who prevailed in the end.

So how is YOUR pageant going??


cheesehead said...

On of the things I love about St. Stoic is that I'm expected to keep my big fat nose out of the Children's Service, thankyouverymuch.

I'm blissfully ignorant of the whole thing.

Thanks be to God!

peripateticpolarbear said...

And here's where the college chaplains in the house can say, "So THAT'S why I do this---no pagaent."

Quotidian Grace said...

ARGGGH! It's always the child and parent who attend infrequently, isn't it? Hope all goes smoothly tomorrow.

Songbird said...

Does the fact that I'm commenting at 4 a.m. give you the sense I have some angst about the pageant? revmom, I dearly wish my nose could stay out of it. We'll have a family of three kid arrive ten or fifteen minutes before, having missed both rehearsals, and I'll have to hope we have enough lamb hats left for them. Sigh.

Patti said...

Ours is over! WooHoo! It was a combined choir/kids chorus thing with costumes. Kind of carols and lessons, but all the carols were from different countries. We always have costumes for late comers. We have bushels and bushels of costumes, most of them older than the church school teachers.

It was beautiful! But even better is, it's OVER! No more Saturday morning and Monday evening rehearsals! Yea!

PS, Our pastor only had to read a few lines. Other than that, she didn't have to do anything.

nycmom said...

I'm somewhat troubled by the whole concept of a separate children's service/pageant. But perhaps it's because I'm in a church with ASA of about 45 with very few children, so we don't have enough for a pageant.

We incorporate our children into the regular service on an ongoing basis. We have 3-5 year olds serving as ushers with parents, carrying the elements and the offering plates up to the altar.

When they get old enough to read coherently (about 10 years old) they get put in the rota and read the lessons just like the adults. Yes, they sometimes stumble over the readings, but so do we adults. And we all have the reading on a bulletin insert, so if a kid (or adult) messes up, we still get the full message.

There are drawbacks to incorporating young children into the mainstream church life: sometimes they can't be still, they can be distracting. But we keep coloring books and crayons in the church where they are easily accessible (in the same bookcase with bibles) and we all put up with occasional distraction. I like it better than segregation.

As a positive, I have a 16 year old son who seems to enjoy church, comes willingly and takes responsibility for his role as reader, usher, acolyte, etc., just as the other adults do, and who relates to the adults in the congregation as a member of the church and the body of Christ with the same rights and responsibilities as any other member of the church.

Patti said...

Our children are fully integrated into church life also (readers, greeters, acolytes, prayer leaders, choir, altar guild). Church school takes place on Monday evening, kids come if they choose to. Actually, more than half of the kids who come aren't mmbers (they are from the neighborhood). Our Christmas program was during the regular service in place of the sermon. We don't segregate our kids, but we do provide extra activities and programs for them outside of the church service.

Purechristianithink said...

patti--same with us. The pageant was part of regular Sunday worship, not something separate and segragated.

Songbird said...

We also include the pageant in Sunday worship, and its participants include adults. I think this is great, but thre are some people who skip church because they don't think the pageant is a real service. Their loss.