Pageant day was good. Really good. People liked it; they really liked it. More than that, I think it was what we hoped it would be, a Service of Worship led by children. It was not, “Oh look, they’re so cute.” It was not scattered chaos wherein the kids followed directions without understanding what they were doing. The kids were present to what they were doing. They were composed and they were leaders. There were a couple of things that came together especially nicely as I review the whole crazy fall of bringing together musicians, letting them choose the songs they would direct, and then building the pageant around that with the Star theme the worship committee is using for Advent somewhere in the background.
- The stars. I had six kids reading scriptures that mention stars from Creation in Genesis to the Bright Morning Star of Revelation, and including the Wise men. I had a kid who is less interested in singing and acting, but is creative visually. I asked her if she wanted to create costumes for the stars, and she ran with it. They were terrific!
- Sanctuary Choir and Bell Choir participation. Sometimes pageant day becomes filled with special things. When it’s on the 3rd Sunday, all the choirs end up singing/playing. First Sunday of Advent, there isn’t quite so much hoopla, and I asked the other groups to give the kids space to be the only thing. Then, within the planning, we ended up asking both the bell choir and the sanctuary choir to participate. Rather than three groups each doing their own thing, we had a cohesive whole, but everyone was part of it.
- Congregational participation. During the planning, we had a conversation about “Silent Night.” The Bells would play, the kids would sing, and then should the congregation also sing? The Sanctuary Choir director said, “Why not? There’s time and the congregation likes getting to sing the carols.” I took that to heart, and we had congregational parts in 3 of our 6 songs. It was a simple thing that made what the kids were doing much more “leading worship” than “putting on a presentation.”
- There were two kids, siblings whose dad brings them Sunday mornings, who were at church school all fall, but missed the run-through on Thanksgiving weekend, the rehearsal on Saturday with no word, and they weren’t there by 10:00 on Sunday morning (we asked kids to be there at 9). They had speaking roles they’d never had a chance to rehearse. I was fairly determined not to give away their roles–maybe even being stubborn. I really thought they would be there. But we were getting nervous. Just in time, they did show up; the RevDoc ran their lines with them, and the younger one held his own while the older one was enthusiastic. “Praise the Lord!” she shouted joyfully, “Praise the Lord from heaven!” and so on through “All you bright stars, praise God!” The RevDoc called it a Best Christmas Pageant Ever moment. It kind of was.
There were hiccups along the way. There were some iffy moments. I had to field a whole lot of questions because I was kind of the only person who could see how it was all supposed to come together, but in the end it worked, and people were delighted. I realized that the project I proposed for this year of church work was about putting together intergenerational worship services. I was thinking more along the lines of “Messy Church” or “Interactive Prayer Stations,” and I will still do that on the 23rd during the church school hour, but this ended up being an intergenerational worship service without even meaning to be.
There are more photos at the church website.