12.28.2011

A Perfectly Imperfect Christmas Pageant

In October I shared the Christmas pageant I wrote last spring. Given that it was fairly rough, and that it had several contextual jokes, I licensed it through Creative Commons with a liberal permissions policy - free to use/adapt with original credit. It has been so much fun to hear about other churches who produced the pageant. I know of two in California, one in Wyoming, one in North Carolina, and another somewhere in the Midwest. And that's just the people who contacted me to tell me they were using it. I certainly think there's a place for paid content, and I wouldn't want to undermine the writers who are trying to eek out a living selling scripts and rights. But, I also think there's a place for resource sharing, for open source generosity.

At one point during one of our two pageant services on Christmas Eve, I thought about how much larger the cast actually was - that there wasn't just one sheep in our flock, but several more scattered throughout other churches. Just as our Mary "forgot" the baby, so did the handful of other Marys who rehearsed the part. What a daunting thought for a first time play writer/director.

I was extremely nervous before the first service. Our family services are very, very full. Again with the daunting thoughts: how many folks produce their first script before upwards of 500 people? But our version of the pageant was just right. The girls who played the leads did great. The kids remembered all their cues. The animals who were supposed to pop up and sing off-key were delightfully terrible. The dads were once again brilliant sports about dressing up in full kingly regalia. The band lead the carols without missing a beat. And the congregation was wonderfully responsive, laughing and singing and, I hope, worshiping the Christ child.

I admit, when I first learned that the pageant would be on my docket at my new church, I was a teensy bit unenthusiastic. Now? I have enough ideas to last us to the Second Advent.

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