Thursday, December 01, 2005

Baby Jesus and the Stinky Pig

This morning I went to see the elementary school kids do a Christmas pageant. And wow, I dare you to find something cuter than a crowd of first and second graders dressed up as animals and singing Christmas carols. Their pageant was the story of the birth of Christ told from the point of view of the attending animals – sheep, donkeys, camels, etc. They had lines to recite (all memorized—I was very impressed) and sang Christmas carols with slightly altered lyrics. At one point the camels went marching through the audience singing “Those wise men are breaking our backs, loading us with big heavy packs” to the tune of We Three Kings. And a chorus of sheep sang “Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the sheep,” ending the verse with “echoed back their joyous bleat.” It was fantastic.

Their costumes were super cute as well. Each animal wore appropriately colored clothing (yellow for the camels, brown for the donkeys, white for the sheep) and then each had a color coordinated baseball cap with the appropriate ears, eyes, and sometimes noses, attached. So the camels had long noses and small ears and the donkey had big floppy ears attached to their baseball caps. The effect was great. You knew immediately who the sheep were because they had a profusion of cotton balls stuck to theirs.

The pageant was made particularly memorable by the addition of several animals not frequently appearing in manger scenes: two dogs, a lion and…a stinky pig. The lion represented the current King of the Beasts who, although initially wary of the usurper, eventually gives Jesus his crown. But the best was the pig. Early in the production, she came to see what all the fuss was about and was shunned by the other (apparently Jewish) animals. Imagine a small child dressed as a sheep pointing dramatically to the small child dressed in pink leg-warmers and wearing a snout on her hat and saying “You are unclean! Ewwwww. Go away!”

But of course, in the end, even the stinky pig is allowed into the manger to see baby Jesus because Jesus loves everyone—even if you’re stinky.


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