My Charlie Brown Christmas play

Charlie Brown: Actually, Lucy, my trouble is Christmas. I just don’t understand it. Instead of feeling happy, I feel sort of let down.
Lucy Van Pelt: You need involvement. You’ll need to get involved in some real Christmas project. How would you like to be the director of our Christmas play?
Charlie Brown: [lighting up excitedly] Me? You want *me* to be the director of the Christmas play?

I had the privilege,along side three other awesome Sunday school teachers to direct this year’s Christmas play at our church. First thing we said to one another when it was all over (other than “thank you Jesus that’s over!”) was “next year we start rehearsing in November!”

I was  apprehensive about taking on the task. As my five year drama degree never covered 3 year olds!

Lucy Van Pelt: Are you afraid of responsibility? If you are, then you have hypengyophobia.
Charlie Brown: I don’t think that’s quite it.
Lucy Van Pelt: How about cats? If you’re afraid of cats, you have ailurophasia.
Charlie Brown: Well, sort of, but I’m not sure.
Lucy Van Pelt: Are you afraid of staircases? If you are, then you have climacaphobia. Maybe you have thalassophobia. This is fear of the ocean, or gephyrobia, which is the fear of crossing bridges. Or maybe you have pantophobia. Do you think you have pantophobia?
Charlie Brown: What’s pantophobia?
Lucy Van Pelt: The fear of everything.
Charlie Brown: THAT’S IT!

Saturday morning we had a dress rehearsal and it was epic! Kids laying on the stage waiting to say their lines, Sheep picking off their cotton balls off their costume and chucking them at one another. Angels darting off the stage unpredictably.

We casted all our actors based on attendance. If they showed up to rehearsal then they got a part!

Lucy Van Pelt: Pig-Pen, you’re the innkeeper.
Pig-Pen: In spite of my outward appearance, I shall try to run a neat inn.

Some playing multiple roles.

Lucy Van Pelt: Snoopy, you’ll have to be all the animals in our play. Can you be a sheep?
Snoopy: Baaa!
Lucy Van Pelt: How about a cow?
Snoopy: Moo!
Lucy Van Pelt: How about a penguin?
[Snoopy waddles like a penguin]
Lucy Van Pelt: Yes, he’s even a good penguin.
Snoopy: Roar!

The teachers and myself at one point kept looking at each other with very unconvincing encouragement “it’s gonna be good, it’s going to be fine”

Inside I was director “Charlie Brown” thinking this is a disaster!

Charlie Brown: I’ve killed it. Oh! Everything I touch gets ruined.

We sent the kids home and reflected.

Linus Van Pelt: I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.

Sunday morning came and all our little Sheep, Angels, Wise men and more showed up excited, focused and cute!

Linus Van Pelt: [after Linus and Charlie Brown discover the little tree] Gee, do they still make wooden Christmas trees?
Charlie Brown: This little green one here seems to need a home.
Linus Van Pelt: I don’t know, Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said? This doesn’t seem to fit the modern spirit.
Charlie Brown: I don’t care. We’ll decorate it and it’ll be just right for our play. Besides, I think it needs me.
[picks up tree; a lot of needles fall off]

We dressed them one by one and gave our final encouragement.

Charlie Brown: Stop the music! All right now, we’re going to do this play, and we’re going to do it right. Lucy, get those costumes and scripts and pass them out.

It all seemed in order we only had one last minute sheep bail out. (my 3 year old son) refused to got on!

Charlie Brown: Look, let’s rehearse the scene at the inn. Frieda…
Frieda: I can’t go on, there’s too much dust. It’s taking the curl out of my naturally curly hair.
Charlie Brown: Don’t think of it as dust. Think of it as maybe the soil of some great past civilization. Maybe the soil of ancient Babylon. It staggers the imagination. He may be carrying soil that was trod upon by Solomon, or even Nebuchudnezzar.
Pig-Pen: Sort of makes you want to treat me with more respect, doesn’t it?
Frieda: You’re an absolute mess. Just look at yourself.
Pig-Pen: [looks at himself in Frieda’s mirror and smiles] On the contrary, I didn’t think I looked THAT good.

And then we had 5 children show up who hadn’t been to one rehearsal and two of them hadn’t even been to our church before “We heard there was a play and we’d like to be in it.” So we through them into whatever costume we could find and told them a teacher would tell them when to go on.

Charlie Brown: What’s going on here?

The lights dimmed and show time, somehow this dinky little tree we called a play turned into something magical. I’m not kidding it was amazing. All of a sudden the kids who were picking their nose and adjusting underwear yesterday were singing as loud as could be and gleaming. Our disgruntled shepherds and kings who wanted to be ninjas not “stupid shepherds!” were filled with the story of Christmas. I’m not being dramatic when I say it was a true Christmas Miracle!

Charlie Brown: Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?
Linus Van Pelt: Sure, Charlie Brown, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.
[moves toward the center of the stage]
Linus Van Pelt: Lights, please.
[a spotlight shines on Linus]
Linus Van Pelt: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘Fear not: for behold, I bring unto you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.'”
[Linus picks up his blanket and walks back towards Charlie Brown]
Linus Van Pelt: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

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