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When I was a kid, I always ended up as a shepherd in the Christmas pageant. I lacked the heft to be Joseph, as a guy did not want to be an angel, and somehow never made the cut as a wise man.

My college students have made suggestions about that last one.

There were, however, many advantages to being a shepherd. So if you are a kid that ended up as “just a shepherd” in your church pageant here is your consolation:

First, you do not have to sit still for gajillion minutes like the people playing Mary and Joseph. Try it and you will see how good this is.

Second, you are not near the “Baby Jesus” If they are using a real baby (as my church usually did), this is a good thing. The number of things that can go wrong with a non-union baby actor are legion.

You are also no longer a baby or a child as you are NOT the “Baby Jesus” and you were too tall for the Angel Choir.

Rejoice! You are still young enough for good presents, but too old to be “cute.”

Third, you get to wear a simple costume. Nobody looks absurd in a shepherd costume, but think of how many ways a wise man costume can go south. You can end up looking . . . like an Episcopal bishop, not that there is anything wrong with that, but shepherds don’t face this possible confusion.

You are a kid in a robe.

Fourth, since for some reason pageant directors implicitly believe some shepherds were kids, you may not have to wear a fake beard. Fake beards look stupid and itch. Real beards look great, but also itch . . . and if you try to grow one at your age you will look like a college freshman.

You don’t want to look like a college freshman.

Fifth, shepherds often get to run in church! The angel makes her announcement and off you go!

Sixth, shepherds have few if any lines. The advantages are obvious.

Seventh, shepherds get large sticks that can be used for whack-a-sheep and other perennial Christmas games.

Eighth, you are in such a big group that nobody focuses on your face who is not named “Mom.” As a result after the show, you get praise from Mom and nobody else remembers you were in the pageant.

Ninth, you will leave as a big shepherd group first and this gets you to the refreshments faster.

Finally, former pageant shepherds form the largest fraternity of ex-Christmas pageant players and will provide a life time old boy network to help you get good jobs and into college. The other characters lack the size to make a good resource pool.

Rejoice in your shepherd status. For unto you has come this day relief from the horror of being a wiseman, an angel, or Joseph.

More on: Christmas

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