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'The lambs are going rogue'

By Darcy L. Fargo

Darcy Fargo

December 26, 2018

My family’s home parish stages a children’s Christmas pageant prior to the vigil Mass on Christmas Eve. My son, Jake, adores the pageant. He looks forward to it ever year.

This week, the organizers gathered interested participants for the first of two pageant rehearsals. The kids were given their roles – Joseph, Mary, innkeeper, angels, wise men, emperor… – and fitted with costumes.

Traditionally, the smallest children are cast as animals, lambs mostly. In years past, we’ve had one tiny, adorable lamb. This year, we have three tiny, adorable lambs (and maybe an even tinier cow).

As the little lambs practiced processing down the aisle with the older boy cast as a shepherd, I hear one of the lambs making a strange noise.

“I think he’s chomping hay,” another parent said, laughing.

“The lambs are going rogue,” I replied.

Once they arrived at the manger scene, the lambs proceeded to be toddlers. They were climbing. They were running to their moms. They were gesturing for the shepherd to pick them up. The young shepherd was literally herding these little lambs.

To me, the scene was hysterical. It was beautiful. It’s everything I hope for in a children’s Christmas pageant. I’m almost 100 percent certain there are going to be rogue lambs on Christmas Eve (I heard one lamb’s father has been coaching him to bleat like a sheep). I can’t wait!

A theater professional would probably consider rogue lambs during a performance a failure. They’re ad libbing lines, they’re not standing where they’re supposed to… But because they’re tiny children, we find it funny and endearing.

I’m the kind of person who dwells on my failures and struggles. I tend to define my story based on what’s written on the worst pages – the moments I go rogue and struggle with my sinfulness and the less-than-awesome parts of my personality.

While we may wish the toddlers would behave more predictably and strive to help them progress, we love them for what they are in the moment – beautiful kids doing what beautiful kids do. Similarly, we struggle. We fail. And while we’re called to continue to strive for holiness and work to do better, God loves us where we are. Even if we go rogue.

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