Christmas pageants. They are even more memorable when they are children productions and growing up, every year until about the fourth grade, our church had one. And it was a big deal!
Unlike the time of my lead role as Morph, the main names–the angel, Gabriel and Mary, Joseph, the three Wise Men or lead shepherds–were mostly given to the junior high kids. We others filled in as townspeople, tagged along with the shepherds or if you got lucky, became one of the sheep. We all got at least one line and sang the songs. I am not sure why, but when it came to memorizing for these plays, I seemed to memorize everyone else’s lines too. The Children’s director always had these evenings filmed and we have a VHS of one year, in which Melissa, Megan and myself are all in the play. As our peers are doing funny things, the zoom focuses closer on the speaking ones and I am standing right behind them. If you don’t read lips, I can just tell you that I am saying their lines at the same time. 🙂
When I reached junior high, I don’t remember anymore Christmas plays, but once took the angel at te tomb part for an Easter set. I just had to wait for the spot light to shine and make my way out through a curtain to stand on the organ bench and smile. Easy. Besides the tiny skits Marcia and my friend acted out in part for the Sing and Play time at VBS, the angel was my last role in acting. Or so I thought.
Christmas break of my freshman year at CCU was going to be a short one, because I was going back up a week early for Winter Term. I don’t even remember how she contacted me, but since I was not going to be playing my bass guitar with the praise team, our worship leader asked if I would be Mary during one of the song sets. Sure. The set up was much like the angel scenario, a sheet and spotlight. Except this time, it would shine and from front view, show our silhouettes coming down one single step to a box which was the manger. Note–one single step.
I went with Dad to the praise team practice and about fell asleep in the pew waiting for my song. Finally, Deb came around and got me and the teen who was to be Joseph. She talked us through what to do and decided to sing the song twice–once without the spotlight and one with the spotlight and our robes (also, my glasses off.) The music starts and we get our cue to enter as the singers have already begun their angelic voices with some song I am not familiar with but focus instead on following Joseph around the corner to the stair. One would think I could remember one single step the way I did memorizing everyone’s lines, but not this Mary. Missing the step, my right leg lands, resulting in my knee locking which then sends me toppling forward…very ungracefully falling on my knees–not by the box, but practically in it.
Silence. There are times (up until my recent big fall in September) that imagining how I looked when I fell was a funny thought. As Joseph, a sturdy skater guy, was offering a hand–I am starting to laugh. “Everything okay back there?” Deb finally asks. “Yeah, just missed my step,” I say. Joseph and I decided it was best if he led Mary to the manger…and on Christmas Eve, I safely knelt in worship.
I can no longer kneel or even get on the floor, unless I have fallen. But one day I will, because in that day, everyone will be on their knees…not in front of a box-like manger, but before the throne of God. [Philippians 2:9-11]
Fall on your knees O hear the angels voices.
O night divine O night when Christ was born
O night divine, O night, O night divine.