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No Baby Jesus' Were Harmed In The Making Of This Pageant

Sorry to have left you in suspense over
the long weekend, but what kind of writer would I be without
employing a little good old fashioned cliff-hanger? Plus, of
course, there was the whole Christmas thing.

But since I know you were all worried, rest easy: baby Jesus made
it through the pageant unmolested – er, attended to. Was it


When we arrived at the church an hour
before the pageant, Cora displayed her first signs of unease as she
realized she’d be doing the pageant in a different place than
the borrowed space where she’d rehearsed. “But honey,
you’ll be doing the pageant where we have church every
Sunday! Let’s go look at it,” I said optimistically. So
we trudged into the YMCA’s basketball court where my church
meets weekly and looked around. Cora mentally compared it to the
small theatre where we’d practiced, complete with auditorium
seats and wings, and said, “I can’t dance here.”

I’m sorry, what?

Still, she deigned to head to the holding room and get dressed, and
spent an hour there hanging out with the other angels and playing.
When the time came to line up and head out, though, she balked,
flatly refusing to join Maddie. I even offered to stand with her in
line, but she said no and indicated she’d had enough of the
pageant stuff and wanted to sit in the congregation with Mommy.

So two minutes before the pageant began, I walked down the
sanctuary aisle with a little angel in tow (she had, of course,
refused to take the costume off) and parked in our reserved seats
in the second row. Cora popped open a snack of dried mango and
happily munched her way through the first part of the pageant, halo
rakishly askew as she sat on my lap. I’d periodically bend
down and whisper, “Are you sure you don’t want to be in
this? You can go wait in the hall with Sissy.” And
she’d shake her head and wave her hand dismissively at me and
go back to the show.

Until “her” music came on.

Right before the angels were to enter, I whispered, “Hon, are
you sure?” and got another negative. Then the music began,
her head whipped up, she stared at the stage and her eyes softened.
Hopping down from my lap, she handed me her snack container and
said, with the grim fortitude of a Russian prima ballerina,
“And now, I go to dance.”

And my little angel strode right through the congregation, up the
center of the church, and right onstage into the midst of the
angelic dancers. Cora walked over to Maddie, separated
Maddie’s hand-hold on her partner, and inserted herself into
the broken link quite neatly, going on to move faultlessly through
the rest of the piece. When the song was over, the other angels
moved to the stable, but my little one stood up and jauntily walked
right back off the middle of the performance space and triumphantly
back to Mummy. She climbed back into my lap, grabbed her snack
back, and picked up where she’d left off with her contented
grazing and gazing.

I almost thought I’d dreamt the whole thing, but the stunned
(and, ok, mirthful) look on the grandparents’ faces confirmed
it’d really happened.

So by the time baby Jesus made his appearance Cora was safely
ensconced back in my arms, though she did keep an eagle eye on him
and a whispered running commentary to me on his behalf. “Is
that girl holding him Mary? Is he asleep? I don’t think
he’s crying. He looks ok. Do you think he’s ok?”

Whoever the patron saint of Christmas pageants might be, I send a
big hearty thank you his way. It wasn’t a silent night, but
at least all was relatively calm and bright. Which, you know,
wasn’t necessarily a given.


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