Monday, October 6, 2008


Did you know that the word pageant comes from words that mean rolling wagon? Look into A Scrapbook of Christmas Firsts to find out more about the origin of the word "pageant."

As with most books, we had to cut the length of this book to keep the cost to buyers under $20.00. One of the chapters we cut was the Pageantry chapter. This week our theme is Christmas programs or pageants, so I'm including a personal essay intended for that chapter. Enjoy, and I have a question for you at the end.


We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. Matthew 2:2

Christmas programs and holiday gatherings celebrate Christ and community. The season offers many opportunities to meet with friends and celebrate the real star of this earth—The Christ.


Good News in American Sign Language
by Cathy Messecar

On stage, the play “Christmas Journey” came to life in American Sign Language for the deaf audience. Each deaf actor signed all their lines in ASL, and a company of unseen people interpreted for the hearing audience.

Two scripture phrases came to mind the December my husband and I watched the excellent production at Woodhaven Baptist Deaf Church: “lifting holy hands in the sanctuary” and Isaiah’s prophecy that the deaf would “hear the words of the scroll.”

A Woodhaven member had invited us to their annual Christmas Drama. In our conversation, she told how this generation could be the one to more completely fulfill Isaiah’s prophecy that the deaf will hear about the Messiah.

Over 100 sign languages exist in the world. American Sign Language is the fourth language of the United States, some colleges offer it for foreign language credit, and more than 23 million Americans are deaf. Gaulledet University’s President said, “Deaf people can do anything . . . except hear.”

As my husband and I watched the Woodhaven drama, we became enamored with the Deaf World where “sign language is spoken.” Dawn Sign Press says the deaf “listen with their eyes” and “facial expressions and body language say as much as the human voice.”

That night we “listened with our eyes,” too. On stage, a group of Christians planned a trip to the Holy Land. They packed, met at the airport, flew across an ocean and put their feet down in the land of milk and honey.

In Israel, a Messianic Jewish tour guide, in ASL, regaled the travelers with stories of the Christ. Near a large tour bus, the tour guide’s hands signed Gabriel’s announcement to Mary, the visit to her cousin Elizabeth, and Joseph’s concern when he found out about Mary’s pregnancy. During his signing, the ancient stories were acted out by more cast members on stage left.

During Act 2, fatigued tourist Fred took a siesta. He dreamed about Jesus’ birth, baptism, ministry, crucifixion, and triumphant resurrection. With precision and pageantry, the cast of 60 reenacted the later life of Jesus and 60 pairs of hands convinced us we were there, on the soil of Holy Land.

Orchestrated songs accompanied the play, and the hearing audience had the double pleasure of listening to the melodies and watching them in ASL. The signing of “Breath of Heaven” and “Come as You Are” were especially poetic.

I am thankful for the first time we saw the gospel in American Sign Language. A language foreign to me melted my heart and revealed The Christ in new dimensions.

In his ministry, Jesus opened and healed the ears of the deaf. Today, the Christian Deaf World continues his mending mission, his heart-healing mission. That December, we witnessed their passion when they shared the story about a stable, a star, a Savior, and a sacrifice.

Tell us about the special pageants you have attended?

1 comment:

windycindy said...

I really enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for the inspiration! Cindi