"The Best Christmas Pageant Ever"
Our scripture today is from Isaiah, chapter 12 verses 2-6 from the Common English Bible.
2 God is indeed my salvation; I will trust and won't be afraid. Yah, the LORD, is my strength and my shield; he has become my salvation." 3 You will draw water with joy from the springs of salvation. 4 And you will say on that day: "Thank the LORD; call on God's name; proclaim God's deeds among the peoples; declare that God's name is exalted. 5 Sing to the LORD, who has done glorious things; proclaim this throughout all the earth." 6 Shout and sing for joy, city of Zion, because the holy one of Israel is great among you.
A Contemporary Word from 12.16.18
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
The Herdmans were absolutely the worst kids in the history of the world. They lied and stole and smoked cigars (even the girls) and talked dirty and hit little kids and cussed their teachers and took the name of the Lord in vain and set fire to Fred Shoemaker’s old broken-down toolhouse.
It was a terrific fire-two engines and two police cars and all the volunteer firemen and five dozen doughnuts sent up from the Tasti-Lunch Diner. The doughnuts were supposed to be for the firemen, but by the time they got the fire out the doughnuts were all gone. The Herdmans got them—what they couldn’t eat they stuffed in their pockets and down the front of their shirts. You could actually see the doughnuts all around Ollie Herdman’s middle.
One fireman even collared Claude Herdman and said, “Did you kids start this fire, smoking cigars in that toolhouse? But Claude just said, “We weren’t smoking cigars.”
And they weren’t. They were playing with Leroy Herdman’s “Young Einstein” chemistry set, which he stole from the hardware store, and that was how they started the fire.
The Herdmans were just so all-around awful you could hardly believe they were real: Ralph, Imogene, Leroy, Claude, Ollie, and Gladys—six skinny, stringy-haired kids all alike except for being different sizes and having different black and blue places where they had clonked each other.
They lived over a garage at the bottom of Sproul Hill. Nobody used the garage anymore, but they Herdmans used to bang the door up and down just as fast as they could and try to squash one another—that was their idea of a game.
…the Herdmans pretty much looked after themselves. Ralph looked after Imogene, and Imogene looked after Leroy, and Leroy looked after Claude and so on down the line. The Herdmans were like most big families, the big ones taught the little ones everything they knew and the proof of that was that the meanest Herdman of all was Gladys, the youngest.
We figured they were headed straight for hell, by way of the state penitentiary…until they got themselves mixed up with the church, and my mother, and our Christmas pageant.