“I’m teaching my kids the true meaning of Christmas.” I repeated to myself for about the 8th time. My daughters were 5 and 2, and I was director of the church Christmas pageant. Me. The woman whose children usually played under the pews during the sermon. What were they thinking?
Casting, costumes, rehearsals, obligatory heart warming song… I figured I had everything under control. On pageant night, Joseph was complaining about how scratchy his costume was, all the angels’ wings were crooked, one of the wise men threw up on the altar rail, and my two year old stole the show.
We used a Cabbage Patch doll for the baby Jesus, and Mary laid him in a good sturdy manger. As I was trying to steer the wise men away from the vomit, I heard laughter from the congregation. I looked up and saw my daughter climbing into the manger, her angel wings leaning farther off center. Yes. My youngest decided that she wanted to kiss the baby Jesus and ended up hanging head down in the manger…nothing but her white robed bottom visible to the crowd.
Now you have to understand that we are Episcopalians. We’re the badass denomination: we come just short of wearing gang colors. We usually have a bottle of Irish Whiskey next to the coffee machine and donuts. Consequently, we set the bar kind of low on religiosity. The kids came through at the end and sang like angels. I heard many sniffles in the crowd as the children turned to the manger and sang I Love You, Lord.
Triumph! After wrestling Cabbage Patch Jesus away from my child, I abandoned the other kids to be de-costumed by my backstage minions. I rushed to the parish hall to revel in the glow of evangelical success and Irish coffee. Here’s to teaching the true meaning of Christmas. Bottoms up!