A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to go with the Middle School Honor Society on its annual fall trip. This year we ended up going to a play in Pocatello called “The Best Christmas Ever,” or something close to it, I don’t remember for sure. There was a message in the play that was really good and apply to so many aspects of our lives.
The basic story of the play is that there is a church in a small town that puts on a pageant each year for Christmas. The same people always play the same parts, and the same person always directs it; you know exactly what I mean if you have ever done a pageant or anything like that before. It just so happens, that the play director falls and hurts her leg and is stuck in the hospital and can’t direct it, so it goes to another person who is pressured into doing it when she doesn’t really want to.
There is also a family in this town that has a bunch of “mean” kids that never go to church. They find out about the pageant and want to join because after the pageant there are free snacks. They show up, terrorize the other kids, and basically bully the other kids into submission so that they don’t try out for the main parts. The new director, not knowing what else to do, gives the “mean” kids the main parts.
As you’d expect everything is a disaster at the practices, the pageant isn’t looking like it should be, and a fire starts in the church kitchen. The “mean” kids are blamed and everything is cancelled by the pastor. A short time later the church members go to give out Christmas baskets to needy families in the small town, and the new director is left to take the basket to the “mean” kids family (nobody else wants to and everybody else blames her for the fire and cancellation because she let those “mean” kids into the play).
While dropping off the basket she overhears the “mean” kids being sad that everything is cancelled and that it isn’t even their fault this time. That the fire started because of someone else leaving food in the oven. She also hears that these “mean” kids are so grateful for the basket of food because it is the one time they won’t go hungry.
She tells the “mean” kids that the pageant will go on. After explaining everything to the pastor, and looking at the evidence of the fire, he agrees and allows the pageant to go on. (They actually have the pageant as part of the play). While the pageant isn’t anything like any other pageant I have ever seen, or like any that anyone would ever expect to see, it was also the most real pageant that I have ever seen.
It really was beautiful and I personally believe it was what a pageant should be. At the end of the story we find out that these “mean” kids don’t really want to be mean, they just want to be part of the community but just don’t know how. They hadn’t known who Jesus was, they didn’t know the pageant story, they had never been to church. This allowed them to bring in a new perspective that nobody else had seen before, a perspective that made for “The Best Christmas Ever.”
Now, I am as bad at judging others as anyone else (maybe worse), but it is something that many of us can work on. We don’t know the things other people are dealing with, or the experiences they have had. We do need to be kind to them though, we shouldn’t just judge them, but we should look for ways that we can include them. Look around you and see your neighbors. Who out there could you include, without judgment, at your Thanksgiving table? Find them, invite them, and help everyone in our community to feel included.
Charles Horikami is a Social Studies Teacher at BLMS, and the Legislative District 32 Chair for the Idaho State Republican Party. The views expressed are not representative of the BLSD or of the Idaho State Republican Party. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and welcomes all comments and critiques.