Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Christmas Pageant for us all

I thought I would share a little about what we have done as a family to find meaning this holiday season. This has come from a short dialog I had with good friends on an email list I enjoy. I have blended some of Garth Whitcombe's comments from our conversation. You can check out his music at

Karey (my wife) and I have done work on the Christmas pageant for our local community for the last 12 years. (We like any story that supports the idea of peace on earth and good will to all mankind.) We have children and young people through high school age to do all the performing and much of the technical work. Karey writes and directs and I prepare the audio portion as well as play live transitional music to keep everything flowing emotionally. There's music for everything from mystical stars, exotic Wisemen, and scary King Herod.

We are very particular about the sound and the visuals because it takes everything to the next level. Not everyone is a Josh Groban or Beyonce, but with the right sound and visuals we have been able to produce something, using amateurs, that is very moving. We have been rewarded with seeing great transformations in the young performers as they have faced their fears and learned how to communicate with confidence and skill. Over 1500 people come to see the pageant to laugh, cry, and celebrate. It is a powerful feeling when we are in the back booth and we feel the audience begin to flow with us and join us on the journey we are taking them.

Dress rehearsal is pretty much a mess and yet when the actual time comes the performers rise to the occasion. They become transformed from goofing around teenagers and tired elementary students to Joseph, Mary, Wisemen, Herod, Shepherds, and Israelites for about an hour and a half. There is a magnitude to the story. Such is the power of myth.

This particular story involves risk, music, light, movement, and lots of emotion. The story involves ordinary people like Joseph and Mary in a grand mythical moment in time; a child that holds the promise of peace and healing; a great angry and jealous king; three curious seekers from the east. All great representations of deeply held desires, dreams, and fears.

"Each of us was born in a manger with no room in the inn and yet each of us was born under a bright star." Each of us has faced a King Herod, and yet been visited by Wisemen with gifts. "Part of the mythic journey is to retrace our stories to that moment of innocent promise and reclaim the gifts of peace, joy and love that we came to share." And that is what we wish to share with you with this brief narration of this particular Christmas Pageant.

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