One of the oldest traditions at Holy Family Catholic School in Orlando is the Christmas Tableau. Celebrated for many years, it is one of the most anticipated events in the school and parish. The eighth graders are put in charge of carrying out this very important event.
What is the Tableau? It is the portrayal of the Incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ. It begins when the Angel Gabriel reveals to Mary that she will be carrying the Son of God and ends when Simeon sees Jesus being presented in the temple. Every student has a character that represents someone from this story. As the story is told, more and more characters are introduced, such as Joseph, John the Baptist, Elizabeth, the angels, and, of course, baby Jesus. This performance includes not only the human characters, but also God’s creations like the stars, the sun and the moon. What makes this Tableau come to life goes beyond the costumes and props—it is how the story is carried out. So much emotion and energy is put into every part, that the audience feels as if they were actually there experiencing the coming of the Christ Child.
Each student actor is given a part that reflects their preferences and talents. For example, if someone is very good at reading, their part will most likely display that ability. That is one of the reasons the annual Tableau is always a huge success, because everyone is doing something they like; therefore, putting their best effort into the performance. The performance is not only entertaining, but it has a very important purpose— to remind us that Christmas is about Jesus, and it also exhorts us to let Jesus grow in our hearts just as Mary did, with love and faith.
The Tableau is a great way to join in on the true spirit of Christmas which lasts through the Feast of the Presentation on February 4.
Article written and photos taken by Francesca, an eighth grade student at Holy Family Catholic School in Orlando.