Bottoms up in a manger

“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!

13 thoughts on “Bottoms up in a manger

  1. “We’re the badass denomination” and “we set the bar kind of low on religiosity”……Sounds good to me! I abandoned my southern baptist upbringing for the pursuit of happiness, as such behavior was frowned-upon within the church. However, I may have been less inclined to go astray had I been brought up in a badass denomination. Add Irish coffee to the mix and I might even volunteer for Christmas play duty. I do love the theater!

    Cute post! Thanks.

  2. Irish coffee – that’s what I call after-Nativity-play refreshements.
    Fabulous post. Thanks for the chuckle and the vision on the angel upside down in the manger.

  3. God, I remember when I was about 10 or 11, and I was supposed to read from the bible…I think it was Matthew 2: vs 1-20 or something like that…it was the “Christmas Story” I was supposed to read…anyway, I get up to the pulpit, open the bible page that I had bookmarked, and I end up reading Matthew 1….so, it was “so and so begat so and so” ….well, as soon as I started, I knew I had read the wrong passage, but I didn’t know whether I should just stop and re-start or to keep going…like the dumbass I am, I just kept going…well, they never asked me to do that again…LOL

    • That poor congregation! Were they nodding off by the time you were done? (I also feel sorry for your crushing humiliation and emotional scarring…a little.)

    • Let me tell a few out of school stories about the Episcopal church Karla and I attended as kids. When the pastor discovered that Karla was taking belly dancing lessons ( I had to have someone come with me so I wouldn’t look so stupid, didn’t work BTW) he volunteered her to dance for the bishop’s visit. Imagine a nubile 20 year old, dressed in silk and gold coins, doing a back bend and laying her head in the bishop’s lap. Too bad there was only sacramental wine afterward.

  4. Well – there you have it. Whenever ‘wise men’ get mixed up in something it’s bound to get interesting. Lovely mental image of an upside-down child creating a memory for years to come.

  5. Oh heavens, it could have been worse, you could have been my mother, brimming with pride that her only child was playing Mary and looked like butter wouldn’t melt. that is until Joseph took it into his head to lay Jesus down, to which I said;

    “You don’t do that! That’s a mummy’s job” and then proceeded to punch Joseph clean off the stage. I was three. It mitigates nothing – but at least I knew then I had a good right hook!

    • I’m just picturing the police showing up at a stable on a domestic disturbance call. That’s a hysterical visual – 3 year old Mary punching out Joseph!

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