Though the fig tree doesn’t bloom, and there’s no produce on the vine; though the olive crop withers, and the fields don’t provide food; though the sheep are cut off from the pen, and there are no cattle in the stalls;  I will rejoice in the Lord. I will rejoice in the God of my deliverance.    —Habakkuk 3:17-18

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A sanctuary full of family, friends, and neighbors waiting expectantly to once again see the ancient story of the birth of our Lord acted out by children while singing the carols that we hold dear. Why? Why do we go through this act again and again each year?

As director of the children’s Christmas pageant for the past several years, I cannot begin to tell you the number of people who have come up to me at the conclusion of the pageant with tears in their eyes telling me that the pageant is the best part of their holiday season. What magic does this pageant hold? What makes us want to see this re-creation of the birth of Christ countless times?

The season of Advent is a magical time for both young and old for so many reasons. And yet, even as a young girl, the part of the season I most fondly remember is going to church on Christmas Eve. Sitting in the dim light of the pew and hearing the words from the gospel of Luke felt nothing short of extraordinary even at a young age. Our God has come into our world through the lives of some poor lowly people? A carpenter? A young maiden? Shepherds? A stable? Really? Wow, now that’s magical.

As the words of Habakkuk illustrate, if you truly believe that our deliverer has come into this world, then nothing else matters outside of rejoicing in him. It’s as simple and wonderful as that! It’s also no wonder, then, that a simple Christmas pageant can give us all reason to celebrate. Alleluia!

Deanna McCullough