As I promised, I’m launching my countdown to Christmas with my favorite Christmas book, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. I was a new mom 30 years ago when the president of the Alabama Alumni Association, Ann Pritchard, gave Bill a copy of this classic. Sometime in the next few weeks we will sit down and reread the story of the horrible Herdmans and how they and those all around them discovered the real meaning of Christmas. I get choked up each time I read the words aloud. If you have kids and have never read this book, rush right out to your bookstore or order it online (paperback and hardcover available at Amazon), and please read it to them. If you don’t have children, please read it anyway to remember why we celebrate this day. It’s short and wet your pants funny. And yes, it’s sweet and sentimental.
An excerpt from 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.
The toolhouse burned right down to the ground, and I think that surprised the Herdmans. They set fire to things all the time, but that was the first time they managed to burn down a whole building.
I guess it was an accident. I don’t suppose they woke up that morning and said to one another, “Let’s go burn down Fred Shoemaker’s toolhouse” . . . but maybe they did. After all, it was a Saturday, and not much going on.