To the Parent Who Wonders if Their Child Can Be in the Christmas Pageant
It’s his turn. Our youngest son has come of age, though behavior doesn’t always abide by a number of years. Autism and extra special needs have built a five year old that isn’t nearly ready, mature enough, or well-behaved. If that day ever does come, it certainly won’t be in time for our Amos to play the role of a sheep in St Paul's Christmas Pageant.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, having a child who lags behind the ones who should be his friends. When children are typically developing, we long for them to beat to a different drum, go their own way, perhaps. When a child is the antithesis of typical, we wistfully long for the normalcy of casual participation, particularly when steeped in tradition like a Christmas Pageant. Our older three children have been sheep, an angel, shepherds, wise men, the Angel Gabriel, even Mary.
This year, five year old Amos shall be a sheep, once again. I don’t think he’ll be a particularly good sheep, but it is his turn and so, we will blacken his nose and encourage him to walk down the long aisle of stone, between the wooden pews, where his daddy and I were married sixteen years ago. The last sheep born of our union and we will embrace him just as he is.
He’s been going to Sunday school the last two years and he has a special teacher who has been wooing him steadily this fall. Though he is present, he is not an eager participant. He likes the singing though, watching my mouth carefully as I form the words, and after each song, proclaims loudly, “I like dat song.” And he does, he adores music and all thing sing songy.
I hope other churches are as welcoming as theEpiscopal Church. I hope Sunday school teachers assign roles without hesitation. Amos will be a sheep, I heard this morning, and felt a wave of relief and thanksgiving. Another church member said of course he would be in the pageant when I expressed my anxious hope. Sheep wander, she noted, and he will be great. To be welcomed when your child is a square in a very round world is quite the nicest feeling and when better than Christmas to embrace the children that don’t follow the rules.
Amos the sheep.