Christmas Pageant Bloopers
By Emily M. Akin-
Christmas is coming! Rehearsals for nativity plays should be in full swing. While most plays are memorable, what most audiences remember is not excellence. No—it’s the bloopers that stick in people’s minds. Allow me to share some of my favorites.
Fallen Angel: I was one of three twelve-year-old girls who played the angels in our church play. We wore white skirts fashioned from sheets, secured with safety pins. On top, we wore white blouses under white choir robes. Our wings were white cardboard with gold tinsel glued on. Similar tinsel formed our halos. Waiting for our cue, we hid out at the head of the stairs that descended into the choir loft.
The spotlight swung in our direction. I descended first, stopping on the bottom step. The other angels occupied the higher steps behind me. We didn’t have to speak. We just waited, looking angelic, until the reading and singing were done.
When the spotlight went off, we turned to go back up to “heaven.” I stepped on the hem of my “skirt” and struggled to right myself. I thought I was OK because I didn’t fall. However, I soon realized my skirt was on the floor. Fortunately, I was wearing a white slip underneath, and the spotlight was off. I was mortified, but my fellow angels thought this was devilishly funny.
Where Is Messiah? Remember Simeon, the man who had waited so long for the Messiah? Our pastor devised a skit about Simeon for use in the evening service after Christmas. A family with a new baby played Jesus, Mary, Joseph, while he played Simeon. The “holy family” was to go through the basement underneath the sanctuary and enter from the back. The pastor planned to cue the spotlight by saying, “Where is Messiah?” Too bad, the basement lights were off. Baby Jesus’ entourage had to hunt for the light switch before making their way through the basement. Simeon said, “Where is Messiah?” The spotlight turned on cue. No one was there.
Simeon ad-libbed, “Oh, Lord, I am an old man. I’ve waited soooo long for Messiah! Surely, the time is now. Where is Messiah?” Still nothing. After a few more ad-libs, Baby Jesus and family finally appeared in the spotlight. Simeon exclaimed, “Thank you, Lord. Messiah is here.” While some stifled their giggles, others were thanking the Lord along with the pastor.
FIRE! As a teenager, I played piano for the children’s choir. One Christmas, the adult choir presented a musical program. The children were to sing a couple of songs after all the characters had arrived at the manger. The piano was an upright, and the top was heavily decorated with greenery and real candles with real flames. I played a little “traveling music” for the kids to get in place. So far, so good.
Once the singing started, I was so engrossed that I didn’t notice that the greenery was on fire. One of the ushers rushed down to blow out the
candles and beat out the conflagration. All eyes were on the amateur fire fighter, but the children and I kept performing like we were the only show in town. Since then, I balk at candles on the piano. If decorators insist on greenery, it must be fake—and definitely fireproof.
Why do we remember the bloopers? I think it’s because we know everyone wants to do it right. Because we’re human, we make mistakes. We forgive the bloopers because we know God has forgiven us. That’s what the coming of the Baby Jesus is all about, isn’t it?