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The 7 Minute Christmas Pageant

So far this holiday season, my favorite event by far has been my six-year-old neice's Christmas pageant. From the hand-crafted fabric drapery costumes to the simple script, it was exactly what this advent calls for.

My neice, who has more energy than a squirel, was perfectly poised and delivered her stable-keeper lines with the seriousness of the grave. I admired the commitment of the sheep, who even ten minutes after the program continued to crawl on their hands and knees as this was the role they were cast in. One shepherd boy delivered comedic relief by catapulting onto the stage via shepherd's crook.

It was perfect. I got the whole story. The kids were cute. We only sang one verse from three Christmas carols (which is all anyone really knows anyway). Everyone had a great time. There was even a cookie and cocoa reception that got us out of there in less than an hour. Why does anyone ever do anything grander?

I am right there with Charlie Brown in thinking that Christmas has become too commercial, but I am not quite Ebeneezer Scrooge. I still believe in giving sweet gifts to the ones we love and celebrating with our communities via concerts and pageants. But I do believe we could take a look at what we've got going on through the eyes of a six-year-old. Let's whittle our gaze down to what we can actually handle, and just do those few things well. No need to over-produce or hyper-schedule. Reserve plenty of time for rest and the quietness of longer nights. If it all gets to be too much, just say, "No, maybe next year."

Merry Christmas to you all!

Photo: The night sky after the show. A deep blue sky fading to the pink horizon, overlaid with the dark silhouettes of trees in the foreground and a few streetlights.

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