There was a time when I would have killed to be Mary in the Christmas Pageant, but I had outgrown those yearnings, thank you very much. Besides, I was definitely not going to be Mary to Mr. Skink’s Joseph; that was just inappropriate. This would not do.
“Wait here, Mr. Skink” I said and slid out of the pew to go talk to Pastor Basil. If I was going to be roped into the Christmas Pageant alongside the weird reptile man from the other side of town, it was going to be on my terms. I looked to see if I could catch Pastor Basil’s attention, but she was in deep conversation with two teenage boys.
“No, Pastor, we really don’t want to do that again” one of them insisted.
“But it was a riot last year! Everyone loved it” pleaded Pastor Basil.
“No! We hated it! We’re not going to be the donkey! We’ll help wrangle the kids, or paint the set, or whatever, but James and I are not getting into that ridiculous donkey costume!”
It seemed that I was not the only one unhappy with my Christmas Pageant assignment. The Kirtland brothers, James and Silas, had been a hit in a two-person donkey costume last year. Unfortunately, they had both grown about four inches each and the costume had already been a tight fit.
“Can we bring in a real donkey?” asked Pastor Basil, directing her question to Mrs. Snapper, the Sunday school superintendent and quilting lieutenant. She handled stage management.
“Nope” Mrs. Snapper shook her head “the Methodists already got the only one in a 50 mile radius, I checked.”
“Really, didn’t I ask you to reach out to that petting zoo back in July?”
“You did. I did. And the Methodists did back in June.”
“Well, bless those Methodists and their punctual ways” muttered Pastor Basil. Then she looked at me, and then past me, her eyes lighting on Mr. Skink and his very nervous tarantula. “Wait, I have an idea…”
At that very moment Mr. Skink stood up and made as his to head out of the sanctuary, but Pastor Basil strode past me, and caught up with him before he was anywhere close to the door “Mr. Skink,” she declared “you are just the man we need, you and your family, of course.”
The tarantula, surprised to be included, peered over the edge of Mr. Skink’s collar, waving a couple fuzzy legs in the air. Mr. Skink shifted his eyepatch to the side of his head in order to give Pastor Basil his full attention.
“What? Now listen, Miss-”
“Pastor Basil, I don’t really go to church-”
“But you are here now, and I’m sure God has brought you here for a reason.”
“Well as a matter of fact-” again, Mr. Skink found himself unable to get a word in edgewise in the face of Pastor Basil’s relentless invitation and hospitality. Lucky for me.
“And that reason is” continued Pastor Basil, “you have been sent to help us put on this year’s Christmas Pageant. The Methodists may have the donkey, but we have you! You and your eight foot python, which will make a fine donkey, and your tropical house geckos which will be glorious as the angelic host, and of course that adorable tarantula which will make a perfect baby Jesus!” To Be Continued
The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew[a] you,
before you were born I set you apart;
I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
Pastor Basil is convinced that God has a purpose for Mr. Skink and his family of reptiles and arachnids, but Mr. Skink is skeptical about such a plan. The Bible is full of people who react to God’s plans for them in the same way: with doubt and unwillingness. Why might Mr. Skink be unwilling to see himself as part of God’s plan? What new or difficult things might God be inviting you to try out?
Amelia Corbett with an audio recording of chapter 7
About the Blog
Journey through the season of Advent with daily updates on the adventures of St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Belliacre, MI as they attempt to cobble together a Christmas Pageant with an unlikely cast of characters.
Stephanie is an art educator and a landscape/portrait artist. Her inspirations come from the amazing people she meets and the gorgeous state of Michigan as well as her home state of Florida. She and he husband love nature. They are out in the water during the summer months and on the snow in the winter enjoying the simple pleasures of life.