I took this photo right at the end of “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” at Sunday’s closing performance. It’s the last line of the play and I loved that cute little Tess (playing Gladys Herdman) in her angel costume is spotlighted in front of the guardian angel set piece which stretched across the stage. It was a enjoyable moment, and a nice shot.
I haven’t been sharing a lot of posts about what Wendy and I have been up to as of late. This fall we’ve been directing and producing the holiday show for our community theatre. Between working and directing it seems like our spare time has been non-existent, so forgive my precious few posts relating what we’re up to.
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was a great show. I had been a little intimidated directing such a huge group of kids, but they were spectacular in their talent and commitment and it made my job easier than expected. We also had a veteran crew who were talented and capable, which also made things a bit easier. We closed the show last night and the four show run set attendance records for a non-musical. Wendy and I could not have been more proud of our cast and crew who delivered performances that had local social media buzzing with praise and compliments.
Yesterday afternoon was the final performance and we had a fun cast party last night. This morning we’re breathing a bit easier as we try to reclaim a little personal time before the Christmas holiday.
When you give blind animals as sacrifices, isn’t that wrong? And isn’t it wrong to offer animals that are crippled and diseased? Try giving gifts like that to your governor, and see how pleased he is!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. Malachi 1:8 NLT
When I am neck deep in a stage production, my heart and mind tend to get focused on the play. Last night was first rehearsal for The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, which I’m directing. Here in the early morning hours my brain is already pondering last night’s rehearsal and what needs to be accomplished in the weeks and months ahead. So, it’s no shock that when I read this morning’s chapter I made immediate connections with the story. It’s one of the things I love about God’s Message. It always meets me where I happen to be in the journey.
In the play, a family of bullies from the “wrong side of the tracks” invades the small church Christmas pageant. It’s sweet, funny, and heart warming. In the process of the play this rag-tag group of sibling ruffians hear the story of Christmas for the first time and began to internalize what it means. The older brothers, who play the three wise men, decide to forget the fake props of gold, frankincense, and myrrh and instead bring the ham from their family’s welfare Christmas basket (still wrapped with a bow) to the baby Jesus. After the show, they refuse to take the ham back even though it’s their family’s Christmas meal. “It’s a present, and you don’t take back presents,” one brother explains.
I was reminded of the Christmas ham this morning by Malachi’s prophetic rant about the cheap props we too often offer to God. We have everything and yet we tend to give to God what we don’t want or need. We offer our leftovers and hand-me-downs. Then, just like the old widow that Jesus spied at the collection box one day, someone who has nothing gives everything they have and reveals our paltry offerings for what they truly are in the eyes of the Great Recipient.
I’m guilty as charged this morning. Have mercy, O Lord. I’m sorry.
- A Personal and Artistic Stretch (tomvanderwell.wordpress.com)
- Exploding Traditions (anewpairofglasses.wordpress.com)
- How A Church Turned A Christmas Blessing Into a Curse: Why Good Intentions are Never Enough (pjmedia.com)
As an artist, it’s always good to stretch yourself.
Tonight I start rehearsals as director of the holiday show for our community theatre. “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever” has become a Christmas classic. Set in the early 1950s, it’s the tale of a family of ruffians who discover that there’s free food at sunday school. They come to check it out just as parts are being divvied out for the annual Sunday School Christmas pageant and he bullies end up with the critical parts of the Christmas story. Chaos ensues.
I’m excited about the great group of talented kids who tried out and are in the show. I will admit, however, that this is not a show I typically like to direct. If you look at my resume you’ll find that I like to direct small casts of adults in comedies or dramas. Directing a host of children and youth is stretch for me. In fact, I confess to you this morning that part of me is feeling something close to complete terror. But, I know it’s always good to stretch yourself.
Here we go.