Children’s Nativity Play. Photo on Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.0

Have you ever attended a children’s Christmas pageant? Try to go to one, even if you don’t have children yourself. They’re absolutely delightful.

And if you’re lucky, you might be in for some memorable bloopers.

Here are some real-life Christmas pageant bloopers featuring children who went “off-script,” shall we say:

One boy was miffed that he was given the minor part of the innkeeper instead of the plum role of Joseph. He got his revenge when asked if there was any room at the inn. “There’s lots of room! Come on in!” he replied, somewhat derailing the plot line.

In another case of resentment over casting decisions, a little girl sat fuming on the stage, ignoring the play being acted out around her, and continuously muttered, “I wanted to be Mary!”

Nativity plays also seem to be plagued with problems involving props:

During one play, the children dressed as angels got into a brawl over who would hold the baby Jesus. In a different play, a girl dressed as a sheep tried to steal the baby Jesus from Mary, who was having none of it.

At another production, the child actor playing Mary rocked the baby Jesus in the manger a bit too exuberantly, sending the doll flying.

One Christmas pageant was memorable for the attempted theft of a toy sheep by one of the angels. A shepherd used his crook to hook around her belt as she tried to escape up the aisle, dragging her back.

In another pageant, baby Jesus’ head fell off and rolled slowly down the two steps from the stage.

With child actors, there’s always the possibility that they’ll slip “out of character” and do something embarrassing:

One nativity play was notable for the angel Gabriel picking her nose through the entire show.

At one unforgettable Christmas pageant, Joseph pushed Mary off the stage, and one of the three wise men wet himself in all the confusion.

And inevitably, there’s always one little girl in the cast who decides she needs to lift her costume up to examine her tummy.

Toddler Ballet Recital. Photo by Trisha Fawver on Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

It reminds me of a children’s ballet recital I attended in the summer (not the one pictured). The little girls were dressed in various costumes, such as butterflies or angels. They looked darling, but there were a few “wardrobe malfunctions.”

One of the butterfly’s tutus was a bit too large, and kept sliding downwards as she performed. Now, I’m no expert on ballet, but I’m pretty sure tutus aren’t supposed to be lodged around your knees.

Some of the angels had similar problems with their haloes, which were attached to a headband. One girl’s headband kept slipping forward as she danced, until it eventually dropped down right in front of her face like a scuba diver’s mask.

At the recital, like at many Christmas pageants, there were also several falls, missed cues and a few tears. Some of the children absentmindedly slipped out of the character they were playing and waved to their parents in the crowd.

But if you looked at the audience, you saw something interesting. You didn’t see any sign that disaster was unfolding on the stage. No signs of dismay or apprehension, just rapt attention and smiles of delight. Parents had tears of pride and happiness in their eyes. They were nudging the person next to them and saying, “That’s my kid!”

Sometimes I imagine that God views His children in the same way. He knows our attempts to get things right are frequently comical. We flub our lines, and our haloes are often crooked. Even though we know the way we’re supposed to act, we often go “off-script.” We do things that are out of character, and we’re never as good as we intend to be.

But like a good father, God loves us all the same. He knows our frailties and our weaknesses:

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.” (Psalm 103:13-14)

He knows we’re bound to make mistakes, but He’s abounding in mercy:

“The Lord is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.” (Psalm 145:8)

I think that when we try our best, we please God. And just maybe, He’s looking down at us with misty eyes, nudging one of the angels, and saying, “That’s my child!”

© 2019 Lori J. Cartmell. All rights reserved.

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