it's getting about that time of year , yes the wonderful magical children/anyone else we can grab to be in it play time of year--yes i've been writing and directing the church Christmas play on and off for over 24 years --the last 7 in a row--haven't decided as to whether i will do it this year--i know i say that every year--but by now each year i have it all written or at least the music picked out.
i like to write it , but i started writing it out of necessity--you see we have a small number of children at our rather small church--but it does seem they started coming in much greater numbers the last few years. there is much joy in doing the play--and a load of hard work . my husband who is my right hand man is the biggest help of all and one of my good friend's is always the stage manager--she provides a large number of the kids herself, and in the early years, it was just about only hers mine, and a very few others.
lots of funny things have happened through the years-- i remember a couple of years ago i was sitting on the front row -as i always do ---i try to tell these people that a true director only observes from an inconspicuous spot in the audience--but they won't hear of it----so anyway this one year during one of the scene changes ( my friend and i actually had other ladies dressing them back behind the baptismal ) i look on stage and there is one of our few boys missing! i'm trying to get my friend the stage manager's eye and finally she sees me and shrugs her shoulders--like ,i have no idea where he is--then out he comes, costume ashew and almost at the end of the act-i was just glad we hadn't lost him--shhww
then there was the year i had the bright idea of letting them carry Christmas candles at the end of the play - as they walked in singing the last highly emotional song --well everything was going fine, until one of our kids with special needs decided it was time to wave to everyone with her candle --her candle that had a glass bulb in it--not only did she --but then her sister who has special needs also ,decided she was gonna wave it if her sister got to--and you guessed it --i saw them as they were falling , i lurched up as did others to try in vain to stop it--there was no stopping it and no stopping the numbers of other kids that followed suit--it was crazy--glass all over the stage --and did i mention the kids were barefoot--but would you believe it no one got hurt--we just played the song alittle longer than planned and out they marched each one gingerly stepping over the many broken glorious Christmas candles.
the last two years i've been so blessed to have almost all my grandchildren take a part in the Christmas play-- the first year they participated, the oldest one was 9 --well once he got to the practice he decided he wasn't having any part of nanny's old Christmas play--he retreated to the back of the room along with his younger brother--i tried my best to bribe him with candy and other things but he was having none of it--his brother was at the age, he was gonna do or not do whatever his big brother was doing--okay ,okay that was fine --i look back during the rehearsal and the younger one was blubbering to beat the band--i stopped the practice -went over to him and asked what was wrong--" i wanta be a Shepard in the Christmas play but bubba doesn't want to "--well if you want to you can i assured him--he did and the practice went on --we even decided that older brother could be my script helper.
my grand-daughters were angels--we were pretty sure my oldest grand-daughter would be fine when it was time for she and her cousin to come in together,but the younger one took off like a bat ---- and beat her to the stage --they were so cute--the youngest one keep her pacifier in her mouth the whole time--it was adorable.
there are all ages that can be in the Christmas play--we had a wise man in a wheel chair--we've had girls as shepherds --Josephs that are maybe a foot shorter than Mary --and babies that have to be held to take a part--anyone who wants to take part can--------i don't encourage this --but one year we had these couple of families that used to come to our church and some of them still came some times--one of the fathers in the families had become a pastor and so had his own church--they came that morning to see the play and stopped down the hall where they knew we met the morning of the play-to get everyone ready--the kids were so excited--i asked them would they like to have a "walk- on" as shepherds and angels --they were jumping up and down with delight--the poor new assistant pastor's wife was my costume manger that year-- i'll never forget her face as i asked her could she and her helpers get 6 more kids ready-- we only had about 15 minutes till show time.
but the very first Christmas play i ever wrote and directed--probably holds some of the fondest memories--it had just as many adults as kids --it was the first play the church had ,had in some time--i even held auditions -it was great--the night before the play we had our dress rehearsal--i was sick as a dog 103 fever aches ,chills-- i came to the rehearsal with a blanket wrapped around me--we had a party that night instead of a after party--i don't know how i was able to do it --i went home and my husband and i decided , i probably wouldn't make it the next day--all that work and time - i was so disappointed but so sick that i just knew i wasn't gonna be able to be there--my sister had the pivotal solo--well she called that night and said she had a really sick kid --she couldn't do it--just about all my family sings and entertains--so i got my husband to call my nephew and niece to see if they could fill in--i had a pretty good idea they would be busy--they sang lots at their church and others--they could do it!--the next morning my fever was gone and i was almost completely well- i made it .and my nephew and niece were thrilling - they brought the house down--at the end we had a gift bearers part of the service that went with the story of the play -- people came up bringing gifts with one hand and wiping their tears with the other--i'll never forget that play --i only wish someone had taped it --but you know maybe the memory of it is even better.
well i still don't know if i will do the Christmas play this year--but everyone should be apart of one at least once in their life.