There are a ton of Christmas-oriented stories, movies, and shows forming part
of our Christmas traditions each year. Of course, I have my favorites among
these classic storiesand I try to read and/or watch a few each Christmas.
Im particularly intrigued by stories involving Christmas pageantsthose
church Sunday school plays rendering the birth of Christ. I probably appreciate
these types of stories more because I was in all the church Christmas programs
growing up. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever is truly one of the best
of these stories, in my opinion. In this book, the typical church pageant gets
turned upside-down by the unlikeliest cast members.
Its a fairly typical plot, but its the characters that make th
book so worthwhile. The bad kids in townthe Herdmanshave never gone
to church, but when they hear theres food there, they show upand
bully the other kids into letting them be the only ones to volunteer for the
major roles in the pageant. After its been explained to them what a pageant
is, of course. Since theyre not familiar with the traditional interpretations
of the roles, they ask all sorts of questions, like why the Wise
Men didnt try to beat up Herod. And their performances provide
entirely new meaning to the pageant.
Its a great story, and since its only 80 pages of largish type
it doesnt even take as long to read as it does to watch Its a
Wonderful Life. So I read it every year or two around Christmasand
I laugh just as hard every time. Since it was published in the 70s, some
of the delinquent behavior is a bit outdated (calling Mary pregnant was bad,
for instance), but its still in print for some good reasons. The Herdmans
are truly wonderful, well-drawn characters, and the storys a lot of fun.