Have you been to a Christmas pageant yet this holiday season? Did it seem more Herdman than holy at first? Maybe it went something like this:
The children's choir sings while the Angel of the Lord climbs up onto her perch. Mary and Joseph arrive with their baby doll Jesus, who has bright blue eyes and looks decidedly feminine. After cradling her baby and placing Him in the manger, Mary chats quietly with the Angel of the Lord while Joseph tries to strangle himself with his shepherd's crook. The (female) shepherds arrive with their stuffed... goat. The children's choir continues singing and playing chimes as if they are handling martial arts weapons. The wisemen arrive; one of them receives a coy little finger wave from Mary. Joseph, still wrestling with his crook, pays no heed. As the choir continues to sing, Mary plays with pieces of hay while Joseph chews on some. A wiseman picks his nose. The shepherds play restlessly with their shepherd's crooks. At last, the entire cast lines up at the front of the stage to sing "Go Tell it on the Mountain," mumbling the verses but belting out the chorus. Then, in a triumph of mixed media, Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive with little candies and trinkets for all of the children and their siblings.
Perhaps there is an almost-two-year old keeping you company in the audience, who claps his hands and yells, "Yay!" after every song. Maybe he calls his sister's name in excitement when Mary comes onstage, and says, "Oh wow!" when Santa appears. Maybe you think about Christmas just two years ago, when he was kicking your ribs like this baby girl is now.
Maybe the evening ends with many congratulations and a few cookies left over from the potluck dinner. I hope so.
Double Chocolate Chewies from The Cake Mix Doctor
(adjusted to be dairy free)
1 package plain, dairy-free devil's food cake mix
1/3 cup water
4 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, melted
1 large egg
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, or hazelnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease two cookie sheets. Place the cake mix, water, melted margarine, and egg in a large mixing bowl. Blend with an electric mixer on low speed for one minute. Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Increase the speed to medium and beat for one minute more. The dough will be thick. Fold in the chips and nuts.
Drop heaping teaspoons of the dough two inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies until they have set but are still a little soft in the center, 10-12 minutes. Let the cookies rest on the cookie sheets for one minute. Remove the cookies with a metal spatula to wire racks to cool completely, 20 minutes.