For the last week or so, our family has been enjoying evening readings from the book: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – by Barbara Robinson. (See image of book below – and note that “Worst” Christmas Pageant is crossed out and replaced with “Best”)
It’s a great book for kids and adults. Although fictional, the story is quite believable. You’ll especially love it if you grew up in a small(er) church setting in the South. The cultural faux pas and the many innocent-but-out-of-turn observations made by characters in the book are truly hilarious.
Not to give the whole story away, here is the synopsis posted on Amazon:
The Herdmans are the worst kids in the history of the world. They lie, steal, smoke cigars, swear, and hit little kids. So no one is prepared when this outlaw family invades church one Sunday and decides to take over the annual Christmas pageant.
None of the Herdmans has ever heard the Christmas story before. Their interpretation of the tale — the Wise Men are a bunch of dirty spies and Herod needs a good beating — has a lot of people up in arms. But it will make this year’s pageant the most unusual anyone has seen and, just possibly, the best one ever.
At first I just laughed and rolled my eyes when I read how truly awful and delinquent the Herdman kids were described in the book, but after a little reflection, I see profound Christmas truths to be extracted from this humorous tale. Here are a couple I’m trying to take to heart already:
1) Jesus arrived in a very imperfect and messy setting. He came not to show people how to make their lives perfect. He purposefully entered in to the lives of imperfect, messy people to love them in a perfect way – and to give them (us, me) a perfect gift. Ah, how easily I glaze over this point. In doing so I minimize my need for Jesus and actually miss the point of Christmas. But the Herdman kids in the book – the “worst kids in the world” – got it. It is THE point I need to cling to.
2) Sometimes the people I fear who will mess up or mess with my enjoyment of Christmas are the folks I most need to invite in. If I were in charge of the Christmas Pageant, I would have a very hard time inviting or even allowing the Herdmans to participate. But doesn’t the love of Jesus prove again and again that the wretched and despised become His treasure? Might I miss out on great joy by not allowing people who bring messes into my life to hear, touch and taste the real gift of Christmas through me?
These are just a few thoughts. If you get a chance to read the book, all of the Hand fam highly recommends it.
We send our sincere love and gratitude to you this week. Merry Christmas!!
Above: Hand family enjoys a recent frosty moment at one of the very few frozen surfaces in Orlando: an ice skating rink!