How being in the Christmas Pageant Made me a “Runner”

The first Christmas pageant rehearsal of the season is set to take place this Saturday morning, November 21st, and it has me feeling all sorts of sentimental. It has me feeling so sentimental, that I am “throwing it back” to 1997. I was 5 when I had my Christmas pageant debut here at SUMC. 18 years later, unfortunately, I cannot give you a play-by-play of my pageant experience. I forget who I sat next to in the choir pews during the performance; the lines, music, and choreography have all gone fuzzy. Yes, looking back there is a lot that I cannot recall from my dancing angel days, but there is one thing I can say with complete certainty: being in the Christmas pageant made me a “runner”.

Let me explain. Since my start here 3 months ago, I’ve noticed something while observing the children and youth. I’ve noticed the runners. When I say runners, I don’t exclusively mean the kids that sprint around the church at the highest of speeds; although we do seem to have a growing SUMC Sunday School track team in our midst. No, when I say runners, I mean the children and youth that are so comfortable here, they run to their Sunday School rooms the same way I imagine them running to their kitchen tables at home when dinner is ready. I mean the kids that walk to the altar for “Children’s Time” without hesitation; the kids that do not look for a hand to lead them to the altar but instead, extend their own hands -to a sibling, friend, or stranger- that might not be ready to “run” just yet.

The 2015 adult SUMC staff member in me cringes at the sight of some of our more literal runners; fears of broken limbs and bruised skin bombarding my brain. Yes, as a staff member I cringe, but as a lifelong SUMC member, I smile. I smile at the new generation of figurative and literal “runners” that call this place home. I smile, reminiscing on how I came to be an SUMC “runner”.

Looking back, I feel the need to express how thankful I am for the annual Christmas Pageant. To express how thankful I am for all of the adults that dedicate their time and their hearts to this project each year.  How thankful I am for my grandparents- who would bring me to rehearsal early Saturday mornings, when my mom was at work. For my family, who from 1997-2004, treated the December 24th 4:00pm Christmas pageant like it was a Broadway show. And perhaps most importantly, how thankful I am for the dancing angels a few years older than me: thankful that they extended their hands to the excited 5 year old that desperately wanted to dance with the big kids.

The Christmas pageant made me an SUMC “runner”. It made me feel comfortable, safe, and at home.  Looking ahead, I know there will be many hands outstretched this Saturday morning at pageant practice.  I am honored to extend my hands alongside my fellow runners, and hope they are warm enough for new friends to hold.

Love Always,

Jackie

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