Oh Come All Ye Faithful – A children’s Christmas play

by Mary Ann on December 13, 2011

children dressing up for the Christmas play

Oh come all yea faithful; gather round Mary and Joseph and sing Hosanna!

First Practice:

One of the angels wanted to look like a pirate. He is desperate to look like a pirate. This little angel may have an eye patch or a scarf on his head. All the angels were taking off their halos – they itch. The angel who is supposed to say “Follow the star” is desperate to say “Point to the star” and that is probably what he will say come play night.

The Roman soldier kept pulling on his robe and saying “I look silly”. Mary kept losing her headpiece. One of the shepherds has cerebral palsy and a head piece is not going to work at all. This little shepherd is supposed to say “We are afraid”. She says it the best she can with a huge smile. She just can’t find it in herself to be afraid. There were many small shepherds wandering about trying to figure out where they were supposed to go.

I have just come home from a children’s Christmas play practice. They are preparing to reenact the Christmas story next Friday night. This is what it is like working with children.

These children are in luck. My dear friend Cindy Walker is their director. She smiled through the chaos. She gently called small children back into place. She helped with lines that will never be memorized. She replaced halos, headpieces, and robes and kept smiling. She didn’t laugh out loud at the silly things the children said and did.

She told me that it doesn’t really matter how it goes next Friday night. Parents will smile, children will feel good, and hearts will be touched and for all we know eyes may be wet. For her perfection isn’t what counts. Even reasonably well run isn’t what counts. She wants every child to have a wonderful time, to feel proud and happy for their efforts and for the spirit of the season to be abundant and warm. I think it will be!

little girl dressing up as shepherd for christmas play

Here is one of  the little shepherds getting in her stander so she can be part of the action; very happy with her costume and getting help to say her line “We are afraid” with a BIG smile.

Second Practice/Dress Rehearsal:

None of the angels, all 3 and under, would wear their costumes. Hmmmmm. This does not bode well! Joseph and Mary are still not quite sure they like their parts especially saying, “I am going to have a baby!” The soldier still feels silly. Headpieces still fall off, belts are missing, halos still itch, no one remembers were they stand, many parts are not memorized and the little shepherd still smiles when she says “We are afraid.”

Cindy, bless her heart, is still smiling, still replacing headpieces, reminding children of their lines and gently calling small angels and shepherds into place. She still is more concerned about children and how they feel, than the end result. This is about having an experience, about learning to do something new, about feeling good. It is not about perfection or even reasonably well run!

The Performance:

Behind the scenes chaos reigns; noise, lots of it. Mom’s, lots of them; children, really lots of them. Cindy is running around madly from one crisis to another hoping everything will fall reasonably into place. BEGIN!!!

christmas play behind the scenes pictures

All the little angels wore their costumes. WOW!! All the headpieces stayed on, except for our happy little shepherd who still smiled broadly as she said, “We are afraid!”

Joseph and Mary were still not thrilled.

children as joseph and mary in christmas play

The little angel who wanted to say “Point to the star” wouldn’t leave his dad’s side…that is until all the angels left the stage and the shepherds were on their way in. Then he went up and sat by the baby Jesus and made happy boy sounds with his plastic cup!

little angel in christmas play

As the shepherds, wise men and angels gathered around the baby Jesus they were a mob, juggling each other for a space, mostly with their backs to the audience. The audience sang loudly as each carol comes in its correct place.

children's christmas play scenes

Parents smiled, children felt good, and hearts were touched and eyes were wet. The play was reasonably well run. Every child had a wonderful time and felt proud and happy for their efforts. The spirit of the season was abundant and warm. This is what it is like to work with children!

Here is my dear friend Cindy Walker at the end, happy despite being tired, because she remembered that  it didn’t really matter if the play was perfect. For her perfection wasn’t what counted. Even reasonably well run wasn’t what counted. She wanted every child to have a wonderful time, an experience with something new, to feel proud and happy for their efforts and for the spirit of the season to be abundant and warm. Ah, success!

cindy walker-director of the Christmas play

Cindy Walker, gracious, kind and loving

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