Great news in the Tanner household: Guess who’s Jesus’ granddad this year in the annual Christmas pageant? That’s me!
Well, actually, I’m not in the pageant. But Michelle will be Mary and consequently, that makes me Jesus’ grandpa.
St. Timothy’s School has held a Christmas pageant for something like 40 years, and it’s a really big deal. The first graders are the angels and shepherds. The second graders are children around the world. The thirds make up the chorus and the fourth graders are readers, bell players and fill all the parts.
There are only two female singing parts, Mary and the Angel. Many of the girls tried out for both, but Miss Priss wanted to be Mary. She said it wasn’t that big of a deal if she didn’t get it but that the angel had too many lines. I think there are three. I believe she just wanted to hold the baby Jesus.
In my opinion, the pageant is the most special extracurricular activity at the school all year-long. It has real significance for me.
Lisa worked at the school and always helped coordinate the 4th grade readers in the pageant. It was important to her to ensure that they knew their parts and spoke clearly in the microphoneless chapel at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church.
In 2009, Stephanie played Mary in the pageant. It actually fell the week Lisa had surgery to remove the tumor from her colon. So the week before, the school planned a special dress rehearsal just for Lisa. We were escorted in and sat on the front row where we had a clear view of our beautiful daughter.
The Christmas Carols that the kids sing are beautiful and moving in the small traditional sanctuary. The sound bounces off the walls and encircles you. It was a beautiful service and Stephanie was amazing.
As all of the angels and shepherds departed from the room, I put my arm around Lisa. She was crying – I’m sure emotionally drained from all she had and was about to face.
When Lisa left school that afternoon, she told her mother, “They all think I’m going to die.”
“Well you’re not,” her mother assured her.
That was the last day Lisa stepped foot on St. Timothy’s campus, and they were right.
I think it was very fitting that Lisa got to see the Christmas pageant on her last day at a school she’d given so much to.
I’ve seen the pageant nine times. I’ve seen DJ grow from a tiny blonde curly-headed angel to a 4th grade bell-ringer. Stephanie wore the family costume Aunt Sallie brought back from South Africa for her 2nd grade debut as a “child around the world.” She’s aged out now.
And this is it for Michelle – and she’s going out with a bang.
It’s time. Lisa is gone, and the kids have aged out. And I must let go.