Advent Pageant: Waiting For Messiah

Last week the boss asked us about the plethora of “Christmas” parties during Advent. The staff usually has a food and gift exchange gathering during Advent. This year, though, with all sorts of church busy stuff and our student peer ministers and interns in the thick of finals, the best calendar time was actually during the Christmas season. The weekend of Baptism of the Lord. A good time, perhaps, for some of us to unload unloved presents in the gift exchange.

Since my arrival in my new parish, I’ve been asked to collaborate on the Advent Pageant. Usually these are a vehicle for a photo opportunity of the Holy Family, the Magi, shepherds, angels, and various sheep.

Last year I parlayed the “Ne Timeas” theme not into a song, but into a whole pageant. Advent centered, yes, with annunciations to both Joseph and Mary, as well as the prophet’s admonition not to fear in the vision of returning exiles.

This year I found “Waiting For Messiah” to be an idea suitable for Advent. We have five scenes based on the following Scriptures:

- Hebrews 1:1-3, followed by a brief narration and our theme song,* “Waiting for Messiah.”

- Selected parts of Genesis 8:15-9:17, Noah, family, and animals disembarking and the rainbow covenant, followed by an instrumental interlude

- Isaiah 7:10-14, followed by “O Come O Come Emmanuel”

- Isaiah 11:1-10, followed by “Like A Shepherd”

- Baruch 4:36-5:9, wrapped up with “O Little Town Of Bethlehem,” though I think the director is angling for “Away In A Manger.” Either one is really fine. The nativity scene does appear at the end of Baruch. I suspect some parents would look with suspicion on a “holiday” event with kids that didn’t have the Holy Family plus “wise men and farmers and shepherds and all.”

On the other hand, the animals appear in three scenes: unloading from the ark, in the peaceable kingdom, and at the end with baby Jesus. That could be interesting.

* I actually haven’t written this tune yet. Anybody got any text ideas?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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2 Responses to Advent Pageant: Waiting For Messiah

  1. Liam says:

    Perhaps your theme song could be based on a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 42 that is in the public domain. Isaac Watt’s text is somewhat more straightfoward than Wesley’s version, and I think you could be selective and make relatively straightforward updatings for the anticipated congregation (this scans to the tune of “Where Charity and Love Prevail” (8.6.8.6):

    With earnest longings of the mind,
    My God, to thee I look;
    So pants the hunted hart to find
    And taste the cooling brook.

    When shall I see thy courts of grace,
    And meet my God again?
    So long an absence from thy face
    My heart endures with pain.

    Temptations vex my weary soul,
    And tears are my repast;
    The foe insults without control,
    “And where’s your God at last?”

    ‘Tis with a mournful pleasure now
    I think on ancient days;
    Then to thy house did numbers go,
    And all our work was praise.

    But why, my soul, sunk down so far
    Beneath this heavy load?
    Why do my thoughts indulge despair,
    And sin against my God?

    Hope in the Lord, whose mighty hand
    Can all thy woes remove,
    For I shall yet before him stand,
    And sing restoring love.

    y spirit sinks within me, Lord,
    But I will call thy name to mind,
    And times of past distress record,
    When I have found my God was kind.

    Huge troubles with tumultuous noise
    Swell like a sea, and round me spread;
    Thy water-spouts drown all my joys,
    And rising waves roll o’er my head.

    Yet will the Lord command his love,
    When I address his throne by day,
    Nor in the night his grace remove;
    The night shall hear me sing and pray.

    I’ll cast myself before his feet,
    And say, “My God, my heav’nly rock,
    Why doth thy love so long forget
    The soul that groans beneath thy stroke?”

    I’ll chide my heart that sinks so low,
    Why should my soul indulge her grief?
    Hope in the Lord, and praise him too;
    He is my rest, my sure relief.

    Thy light and truth shall guide me still,
    Thy word shall my best thoughts employ,
    And lead me to thine heav’nly hill,
    My God, my most exceeding joy.

  2. Liam says:

    Btw, this is a resource for future reference:

    http://www.ccel.org/ccel/watts/psalmshymns.toc.html

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