The Christmas pageant is a sentimental cliche because that is what our culture has made of Christmas. Popular Christmas stories commonly present an implied theology consisting of "redemption by babyhood," or, even more frequently, "redemption by giving." The simple presence of a wondrous infant, or a single act of kindness by a previously sour and alienated character, are seen as being sufficient to transform the world. And of course there is much emotional truth in such stories, or they would not have the appeal that they do. But they are not the gospel. They are not the Christmas story... They do little to challenge children to wonder why this birth is so long awaited and so joyfully hailed.
Gretchen Wolff Pritchard, Offering the Gospel to Children, p. 81