“…And THAT’S what Christmas is all about.”

The day after Thanksgiving seems to bring about a laundry list of to-dos.  There are Black Friday deals to chase, cookies to bake, presents to wrap, and of course all the parties and gatherings to attend.  At Good Shepherd, the Holly Fair kicks off all the festivities.  But each year on the weekend following the Holly Fair something magical happens–our church family and friends gather to see our children tell the Christmas story.

Rehearsals begin in early November.  Children are assigned their roles and work diligently with parent volunteers after each Sunday School lesson remembering their lines.  They practice at home, on the way to their sporting events, sometimes even at the dinner table. All while the craziness of Christmas is in full swing.

Then, the second week of December the kids of Good Shepherd dress as shepherds, angels, townspeople and of course Mary and Joseph.  Parishioners chat over a homemade lunch while the children recite their lines one last time before hitting the stage (aka…the Altar).  Following lunch, everyone is invited to grab their seat for the big show.  The lights are dimmed, the Altar is transformed into Bethlehem and a manger is tucked behind the curtain.  The Christmas story begins to unfold as the children–who have worked so hard over the past few weeks–tell us what Christmas is all about.

Somehow this annual tradition allows for us all to do something truly magical during the holiday season.  It allows us to slow down and breathe.  We are reminded the shopping, baking, cleaning, and craziness is all secondary.  Celebrating the birth of Jesus is truly our number one priority–but what makes the pageant particularly magical is watching our children give us this gentle reminder.


Holly Fair, Pageant Practice and Youth Fellowship…Oh My!

What do you get when you combine the annual Holly Fair, pageant practice and a Youth Fellowship lesson? Lots of fun and organized chaos!

This past Saturday we held our annual Holly Fair. The Holly Fair is always the ideal way to kick off the Christmas Season! Many of our parishioners take part to ensure the Holly Fair’s success. This year our youngest parishioners bused tables in our notorious Holly Fair restaurant (well at least in Pitman during the first week of December), helped children create Christmas crafts in our St. Nick shop, and sold their own wares at their Youth Group table in the Parish Hall. Rounding out the event was a vist from St. Nicholas himself! By the end of the day there were plenty of smiling faces and tired feet.

Sunday morning kicked off with a Youth Fellowship lesson about service and giving during the Christmas Season. Following the lesson the children gathered to rehearse for this Sunday’s annual Christmas Pageant.

Throughout all the excitement and activities the children shared laughs and smiles; evidence that the youth of Good Shepherd is truly what makes our parish thrive!