Have you thought about the Christmas Story?
I mean really thought about it.
When you have grown up going to church your whole life, hearing the Christmas account, and setting up your family’s Nativity scene, it can be so easy to glaze over the beauty, reality, and people involved in the account.
If you have found yourself in a Christmas rut and the Christmas account no longer moves your soul to awe, wonder or tears, I have found the story for you.
In The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, the most unlikely children help a church remember the beauty of the Christmas account.
The Herdman’s are possibly the worst children ever. Through a series of hilarious events, they become part of the church’s Christmas pageant. As these children are hearing the Christmas account for the first time, they ask questions. Good questions. Questions that make those of us who have known the account our whole lives actually think about the characters we have become so familiar with.
But it isn’t until the actual pageant that the true beauty of the story comes out. This story has a way of revealing the prideful, self-righteous attitudes in our own hearts and the beauty of a sincere heart hearing of Christ for the first time and coming to him with the only thing it has to offer. It reminds us that maybe, just maybe, the angel’s announcement of “Unto you a Child is born” was announced with joy and thrill.
I had a hard time reading the last two pages of the book as my voice cracked at the end of each sentence, and my son came to “console” me as I read the last line.
The tears were not from sadness… well maybe they were.
Maybe the tears came because I have gotten so comfortable with the Christmas account in Luke chapter 2 that I have forgotten to read it with the awe and wonder it deserves. Maybe they came because children have a way of seeing things more clearly than adults do, and the children in this story helped me see the Christmas account again for the first time.
This book took us two days to read through, but we could have easily finished it in one day. It’s a small book with seven chapters and is completely entertaining (if you are a Classical Conversations family, like we are, your children will have to read it in the Challenge years, so it’s a good story to get familiar with now). We laughed through chapters one through six, and then saw the beauty of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, Wise Men, and the angels in chapter seven.
After reading through the book, we watched the movie on Youtube (I’m a firm believer of reading the book first and then watching the movie). The movie follows the book very closely with very little creative license taken. (NOTE: In the movie one child says, “They talk about sexy things,” which isn’t true, in her efforts to get the Herdman children kicked out of the pageant because one of them got the part she wanted.)
This book is also available in a condensed version as a picture book for younger children and has the same effect in reminding us of the awe and wonder of the Christmas account.
If you find yourself getting into a rut, if you can’t see the wonder and awe of Jesus coming as a baby to the world because of all of the “grown up” stuff that gets in our way, then maybe you need to take a small break in the busyness of the season and look at Christmas from the perspective of a child.