It is no secret in my congregation that I consider myself a Christmas pageant aficionado. I love them all: from live animal pageants with stage mothers and tap-dancing angels to no rehearsal instant pageants that rely on an element of chaos and involve the whole congregation. I believe dressing up, singing Christmas carols, and standing next to a plastic doll is good for the soul. It brings folks together.
So you can imagine my dismay when I realized that St. Peter’s was not going to be able to have our beloved Christmas pageant this year due to social distancing. Without Christmas parties or church gatherings, people will be looking for a chance to decorate and spread joy.After weighing the pros and cons of a zoom pageant, I had an epiphany.
How about a drive-through Christmas pageant?
The idea is simple–a little like a progressive dinner. A few weeks before the event, we will ask folks to sign up for scenes in the pageant. The number of families interested will determine the number of scenes. Then, each family will be tasked with creating their assigned scene in front of their home–the scenes can be as basic or elaborate as desired.
Here is one example of how the scene breakdown might work:
Scene 1: Caesar Augustus
Scene 2: Mary, Joseph, and the Donkey
Scene 3: Innkeepers
Scene 4: Angels
Scene 5: Shepherds
Scene 6: Wise Men
Scene 7: The entire Nativity Scene back at the Church
A congregation interested in doing this could add or subtract scenes as needed! If you have a bunch of folks, consider double casting and having a Friday drive through and a Saturday drive through.
The week of the pageant, we will email maps of the route to everyone, invite our whole town, and share the event on Facebook. The route will have a corresponding Christmas playlist available via Spotify. We’ll film the pageant so participants can see it later.
People will be invited to drive through the Christmas pageant route from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The pageant will end at St. Peter’s with a candlelight nativity scene. Faith, hope and joy will be restored! (And because this is 2020, we’ll also plan for a rain date.)
Whatever your congregation decides to do for a Christmas Pageant, it will be wonderful! As long as you are involving people and telling the story, you can’t go wrong.
My prayers are with you all as we journey together through what will be an unforgettable Advent and Christmas season. May God Bless us, Everyone!
The Rev. Emily Lloyd, rector
St. Peter’s, Poolesville