Mad Doctor's Note: This first saw the dark of night in 2006, when the media and the world had begun to argue about whether the holiday should be called Christmas or not. It is a saddening thing to see people become so anxious and sensitive that they are unable to properly celebrate a holiday without offending one another. This story was, and still is, a response to that trend.
This story is written in the manner of the Gospel Of Luke as a literary device, and is not intended to spoof or be interpreted as holy writ.
And it came to pass in those days, that at Clearwater High School there went out a decree from Ron Herschel, principal of Clearwater High School, that there should be a Christmas pageant. And this pageant was of course held every year at Clearwater High School, and this present situation was of long standing. And there were some rather different students at Clearwater High School in these days, of whom were monsterkind, and their names were Frankie, Bethany, Harriet, and Punkin, and they were called the MonsterGrrls by those who knew them.
And Mr. Herschel, who was uncertain about how others would react to the Grrls being in the Christmas pageant, issued another decree that these rather different students at Clearwater, having their own way of celebrating the season, should be exempt from being in the Christmas pageant. And the MonsterGrrls, especially Bethany, were sore vexed.
And the night of the pageant came, and all went to the school, that they may see this thing which was done. And the school board from the central office came, and all went every one unto their own seat in the auditorium. And so it was, that, while they all were there seated, that backstage, some last-minute changes were made within the pageant. And no one in the auditorium knew of these changes, save for the drama teacher, who kept these things and pondered them in his heart as he took his seat.
And lo, the auditorium darkened. And on the stage came a girl of very tall stature, whose skin was of a strange green color, and she bowed to the audience and said unto them, Hello, everybody, my name is Frankie Franken, and welcome to the Clearwater High Christmas pageant. And Mr. Herschel, who sat within the front row, was sore vexed, but could do nothing.
And the curtain went up, and lo, there were shepherds onstage abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, as it is written. And Frankie narrated unto the audience, and said unto them, It was a lonely night in the fields outside of Bethlehem. And there was a noise backstage, and the audience did hear a snippish voice say unto someone, Get the lights up, you, before I give you such a ding about the ear. And the lights went up, and there on the stage was a stable, and in the stable were Joseph and Mary with their babe in the manger, looking sore confused, for it was not their cue. And Frankie said unto the audience, See, there is Bethlehem.
And then an angel jumped out and shouted, Hey, you shepherd guys! And the angel was of a furry countenance, and her costume was proof unto the audience of hasty dressing; yea, her wings and halo were askew. And she carried a big golden star on a stick, and ran around the shepherds waving it, and shouted, Hey you guys, I am shining the glory of the Lord all around you, like it says in the script. And the audience was briefly amused, but the shepherds were sore afraid.
And the angel straightened her halo and said unto them, Hey you shepherd guys, fear not, for I am Harriet, I mean the Angel guy, and behold, I’ve got good tidings of great joy and stuff, and it’s for the people. And she waved at the audience with a big toothy grin and said unto them, And it’s for you guys too. And the angel pointed at the manger and said, Unto you is born this day in that manger over there a Saviour, who is Christ The Lord like it says in the script. And this is my sign unto you: if you go over there where Gerald and Sarah, I mean Joseph and Mary, are sitting in the stable thing, ye shall find the babe wrapped up in swaddling stuff and lying in the manger thing. And the angel ran up and down the stage waving the star and shouting, Glory to God and stuff, and on Earth peace and goodwill to all you guys, and hi to Mr. Herschel. And Mr. Herschel, who sat in the front row, shrank down in his seat, for he was sore vexed.
And it came to pass, as the angel was dragged off the stage by Bethany, a pale-skinned Grrl of angry features, that Frankie came forward and narrated unto the audience, and said unto them, Well, after that happened, the shepherds said that they would go to Bethlehem and see this thing that the angel has made known unto us. And she waved the shepherds forward.
And the shepherds, remembering where they were, went to the manger with much haste, and found that it was as the angel had said. And many looks of confusion were traded amongst them, for no one knew what was going on. And behold, three wise men appeared, carrying gold and frankincense and myrrh. And Frankie said unto the audience, And a few days later, three wise men came, following the star to find the baby that was born at Bethlehem.
And the angel with the star ran back onstage, and jumped in front of the wise men, and shouted to the audience, See, you guys, here is the star. And the angel ran across the stage to the stable and held the star over it, and jumped up and down and shouted, Over here, you wise men guys, over here! And Mr. Herschel, who sat in the front row, did put his head in his hands.
And the pale-skinned Grrl who was called Bethany came out from stage right and shouted unto the angel, Harriet, will you get back here, for heaven’s sake! And the angel said unto them, Oops, and ran offstage. And Frankie said quickly unto the audience, And the wise men were sent by King Herod, and because Herod wanted to harm the child, there came a dream unto the wise men, and they were warned not to return to Herod. And one of the wise men raised his hand and said, That wasn’t in the script. And Frankie said unto him, Yes it is, because we checked in the Gospel Of Luke and it’s there.
And lo, another angel was shoved out onstage by Bethany, and she had frazzled blond hair, and was wearing a pointed hat that had been hastily painted white, and her halo was ringed around it. And she said unto the wise men, Um, hey you wise men fellers, I am Punkin, I mean the Angel, and I been sent in this here dream to tell you that you better not go back to that King Herod ‘cause he’s gonna do somethin’ bad to this here baby. And one of the wise men said unto the angel, You’re not an angel, you’re a witch, because you’ve got that pointy hat. And the angel said unto him, No I ain’t, ‘cause I got some wings an’ a halo too, an’ you just better do what I say an’ go home an’ not tell no Kings about no babies or nothin’. And the angel who had appeared with the star ran back onstage and said unto them, That’s right! Don’t go back to King Herod, or I’ll bust you one! And Bethany came onstage and shouted unto the first angel, Harriet, it is not your cue, and that is not how angels are supposed to act! Will you please get back here!
And lo, every one of them began arguing loudly, and the pageant was thrown into confusion and disarray. And Frankie said unto them, Hold on a minute! And everyone stopped arguing and stared at her, and Frankie said unto them, This isn’t right. And Frankie went to the center of the stage, and she was joined by Bethany and Punkin and Harriet.
And Frankie spoke unto the audience and said, There’s been an awful lot of argument and debate going on over these events that you have seen depicted here tonight. Some people think that we place too much emphasis on these events at this time of the season, and some people think that we don’t place enough emphasis on them. But we think that the most important thing about all of it is that the Creator who made this world sent the baby in the manger as a Gift unto all people. And we think that’s pretty cool, that the Person who made everything here would do something like that. And if we messed everything up tonight, we’re sorry, but we wanted to be part of this great thing too. So I would like to say unto you, Merry Christmas to all of you.
And Punkin said unto them, Peace be unto you, and God rest ye merry.
And Bethany said unto them, God bless us, every one.
And Harriet said unto them, That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.
And there was a silence in the auditorium among the people. And lo, a sound of applause began, and it was Sarah, who was playing Mary that year. And Gerald, who was playing Joseph, began to applaud too. And then the shepherds applauded, and the wise men did lay their gifts down around the manger, and they applauded too. And Mr. Herschel, in spite of himself, began applauding. And the school board president applauded, and the other board members did applaud also. And the sound increased, and it came to pass that everyone in the auditorium was soon applauding. And Frankie smiled and said unto them, The End. And all the Grrls and the cast did take a bow. And everyone who attended said unto one another that this year’s Christmas pageant was perhaps the strangest Christmas pageant they had ever seen, but they also said unto one another that it was probably the best Christmas pageant ever.
And in Clearwater, there was much rejoicing!
We end today's post with this quote from Frederick Buechner:
"Adeste fidelis. Come and behold him. Speak to him or be silent before him. In whatever way seems right to you and at whatever time, come to him with your empty hands. The great promise is that to come to him who was born at Bethlehem is to find coming to birth within ourselves something stronger and braver, gladder and kinder and holier, than ever we knew before or than ever we could have known without him."