Hey! Unto you a child is born!

When I was in the 5th grade our teacher showed us the made-for-TV movie version of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever starring that lady from M*A*S*H and also Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story (and yes, when I watched the Dollhouse finale with my Whedon-obsessed husband I was all, "Hey! That's Scut Farkus!" Dude grew up nicely, I must say . . .)

Anyway, point. I found out later that the movie I'd seen was based on a book. My family bought a copy and it's now a tradition to read "the Herdmans" (as my mom calls it) around Christmas. It's about the awful, loud, bullying Herdman kids, who hijack the local church's Christmas pageant and take all the major roles. They know nothing about the Christmas story and are horrified by what they learn. ("You mean they tied him up and put him in a feedbox? Where was the Child Welfare?") If you haven't read it, you should. It's one of the only books that makes me cry from laughing and from actual sweet, Christmas-spirit-like feelings.

But this leads us to my lesson with the Sunbeams yesterday. I brought a bag full of baby blankets & random props so we could stage our own Nativity during class, and they had a lot of fun. There were 7 kids, so we had all the parts covered and people switched around and yes, all the little girls got to be Mary at some point. Two of them, in fact, got to be her at the same time (I was trying to wrap it up) so we had this polygamous Holy Family sitting in the stable, with Joseph and the two Marys very nicely sharing the baby Jesus (a stuffed bear swaddled in a white burp cloth) across their laps. This made it especially Mormon, I think. The boys liked being the innkeeper because they liked making grumpy faces and saying, "No! No! No!" They all liked being wise men and shepherds and following the star, which was a flashlight that I pointed at the ceiling and moved all around.

Once we were done Nativity-ing it, I sat them down on the floor with me and showed them this video on my iPad, because it's just about the sweetest thing ever. I dare you to feel nothing.

And here's one more for good measure. I have had a hard time feeling the Christmas spirit this year, but watching these videos did it for me, so I hope they'll do something for you too. I had actually forgotten, until I had to teach it to these sweet little kids, that the reason we give each other presents at Christmas is in remembrance of the gifts that the Wise Men gave to baby Jesus. The reminder came at a good time. Also I clearly need to go read The Herdmans again.


Liz Johnson said... [reply]

I remember loving this story as a kid, but I haven't read it since then. But! I just checked it out of the library for our "12 days of Christmas" experiment. You made me extra excited to re-read it.

Ann-Marie said... [reply]

You HAVE to check out this video they showed us at Institute last week. I've watched it like 5 times and it makes me so happy!


AmyJane said... [reply]

Hooray for the Herdmans! I need to read it to Patrick this week!

Anne said... [reply]

About a month ago we saw this as a play. It was fantastic and the little actors did such a good job! I've never read the book but may have to check it out - literally. (Oh...library humor!)

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Just finished reading it to my 10 year old. I cray HARDER every time I read it. I could hardly get through the last chapter. I was a mess.

Desmama said... [reply]

Adore that book. I even included a small part of it in the Christmas talk I gave last year. It totally worked, promise. ;)

sarah said... [reply]

I love The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. And I your telling of your Sunbeams' Nativity is a crack up.

I wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy, Working Dryer very soon!

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