Blogs » Business Notebook » Even with the occasional madness and mayhem, pageants are a lot of fun

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It's hard not to chuckle a little - quietly - to myself each Sunday as I sit in the church pews, watching Christmas draw near and listen to announcements of the annual pageant. "We only have one king so far - we need another two!" was the panic-ridden message I heard a couple of weeks ago

And I think the reason the topic strikes such a note in me is because I've seen - and taken part in - my fair share of Christmas pageants. And when you have a sanctuary full of kids dressed as royalty and livestock, something is bound to happen.

Take, for instance, a pageant I took part in when I was young, where I played a sheep bringing wool to Baby Jesus. There were three of us adorned in our headbands with curly bits of paper attached - those were our horns. However, none of the doting stage-hand mothers realized only one of the sheep costumes had arm holes. So as one little boy gracefully laid his wool down at the baby's manger, I and the other sheep did what we could to grasp it through the pillowcases we were wearing and throw it in the right general direction. That was fun.

A few years ago, my church was carrying out the typical nativity play, documenting Mary and Joseph's trek to Bethlehem. And this story came complete with a real-life Baby Jesus. He sat still, contented for a while, but eventually got squirmy. This left my younger sister Sydney - who played the role of Mary that year - with a fussy little Christ child in her arms. It wasn't long before a grandmother in the congregation leaped up and took the baby back to comfort him, leaving the rest of the pageant Jesus-less.

The cream of the crop, though I was actually part of this one so didn't get to watch, took place when I was probably about four or five years old. Instead of the typical play, some people at my church decided to get creative.

They hoisted up a large, white sheet and gave all of us stick puppets. With a light shining behind us, we "acted out" the nativity through shadow images displayed on the screen. While I'm sure the event included more than one chubby little arm showing on the screen when it was supposed to be hidden, the part of the play my family talks about most is Mary's ride to Bethlehem.

You see, instead of keeping it simple - a single puppet of both Mary AND the camel - my poor sister Mallory was left with the task of keeping Mary on the camel through the journey. But apparently  the camel moved too fast. From what I understand, what ensued was expectant Mary chasing a camel to Bethlehem.

But, of course, it's the pageant my family remembers most fondly.

What about you guys? Any tales of the holy story gone wrong? I really do think those are the best ones.