Christmas pageant embraces ‘radical hospitality’

This year's message is love and generosity, says director of Leaside United Church event

Leaside United Church’s annual Christmas pageant is a family affair for the Lapier family.

Not only have Nina Lapier, 12, and her sister Brianna, 5, participated in the pageant for the last three years, but their father Robert was also in it when he was a child.

“It was many decades ago, back in the ’60s and ’70s,” he said.

This year’s Christmas pageant will take place on Dec. 17 at 10:30 a.m. The theme is radical hospitality, which means going the extra step when helping others.

Robert Lapier (centre) is happy that his daughters Brianna (left) and Nina (right) are involved with something he was a part of himself in his youth.

“Focus on love and the generosity that we can give each other as humans,” said director Tanya Wiles-Bell, who has been involved with the pageant for the past nine years.

“We often think that if we do something nice, if we give a homeless person a Tim Hortons card, that we are great people, but it goes deeper than that. Ask them their name, find out who they are, because we all have a story.”

Children rehearse for the Christmas pageant.

This year’s pageant will follow a young couple who have just arrived in Canada and are struggling to make it their home. At the same time, there is a mother who thinks Christmas is all about everything being perfect.

“She forgets that main message of love and hope and generosity,” Wiles-Bell said. “This modern story is playing out parallel to the ancient story, and so makes it new again.”

Tanya Wiles-Bell is director of the pageant.

She said directing the pageant reminds her of the time when her children were participants.

“It’s something that I have given my kids,” she said. “They have that choice to carry that on.”

Meanwhile, this will be Nina Lapier’s first time taking on a speaking role in the pageant.

“I’m actually really shy,” she said. “I always thought I like acting. I think it’s a really fun thing.”