On Centre: Around Philipsburg | Holiday performances help capture season’s meaning

Certain things go hand in hand with the holidays. Lights and trees, sure. Cookies and eggnog, absolutely. Gifts and carols, totally.

But there are some that you might forget. They are ones that might not stand out, but probably have defined some of your Christmases past.

For me, that is the Christmas pageant. Concerts, choirs, plays and more, performing for the holidays is one of my earliest memories. Singing in Latin at midnight Mass gave the season scope. Dressing up as Uncle Barnaby (yes, Uncle Barnaby ... we were short on boys in drama at Philipsburg-Osceola that year) for Babes in Toyland in high school brought humor and fun. Then there was a short-lived children’s drama production staged by friends at the Rowland Theatre in high school. That one? Well, it taught us humility.

Children still take the stage at Christmas, giving a gift that doesn’t have a cost. The gift of self, the gift of standing in the spotlight, hoping you don’t screw up and trying to make someone feel something special.

On Saturday at 6 p.m. at Philipsburg Elementary, the kids of Free Church will present “Bows of Holly,” a story of the meaning of Christmas being lost and found again. The kids also are working on finding that meaning themselves with Operation Light Shine, collecting canned food for those in need.

On Dec. 21 and 22 at 7 p.m., Front and Centre Productions will stage “The Christmas Post” in the same venue. The musical is inspired by the Saturday Evening Post idealized visions of Norman Rockwell.

Take a little time this year to remember what it was like to be in a Christmas pageant and take a seat in the audience. Let the children give you their gift, and give them back a little applause.