Why Do Christmas Pageants Make Us Laugh?

No matter how serious the children are in their Biblical roles, we end up laughing at Christmas pageants.

Maybe it's the earnest Mary played by a girl who is twice the height of Joseph her erstwhile husband. Maybe it's the wandering toddler shepherd who keeps walking off the stage in search of his mother in the pews. Maybe it's the real live baby Jesus who acts like a real live baby in the middle of a solemn moment and makes real live baby noises.

But it's not just children. I've seen pageants where the roles are played by adults and they make us laugh too. We can't believe that Minnesotan guy from choir is playing the role of a wise king from the east. Is that teenage soccer player who has yet to go out on a date aware that she really is the same age Mary was at the time she had Jesus? These comparisons are absurd. They make us laugh, perhaps out of nervousness.

But I also think we laugh at the realization that these people in the Bible really are just like us. When we read about them in a book they are characters. But when we dress up like them or dress our children up like them, we realize that they were all people just like us.

And then there's that baby. It's one thing to imagine that the people thousands of years ago were like us. But God? That's ridiculous, crazy and even laughable. God could do absolutely anything. And God did this. The baby thing. Hilarious. As in the real root of the world, which is joyful.