Friday, November 29, 2013

Merry Christmas

And Lo, the Star Went Before Them – Part 1

This story has appeared in two Christmas anthologies – “Klutzin Around the Christmas Tree” and “Christmas Tales, Christmas Bells” I will post it in two parts.

It felt more like a warm summer evening than Christmas time. The crowd had gathered on the back lawn of Francis Jones – a missionary guest house named for a former missionary who lost her life to Yellow Fever in this tropical country of Nigeria. I was a child in the audience, too young and untalented to have made the cast. A person needed to be able to sing in order to be in this play and I have never been able to sing. But my sister was an angel. She sang a group song with the other angels and my brother was a Wiseman. That was a huge honor! He would be joining his voice with the voices of the other two Wisemen in a rendition of, “We Three Kings”. I was excited for them….but mostly; I was just excited. The play was always a highlight of the Christmas season in this African country I had learned to call home.

On the far end of the huge lawn was a wooden stable made by one of the missionary men. In it were Mary, Joseph, and “baby Jesus”. This year the baby was just a doll but in some of the past years it had been a real baby. The year my siblings were in the play, there was a shortage of real missionary babies. Next to the stable were some live sheep which another group of little “shepherds” worked very hard to control. These always made the play interesting. They often provided comic relief…or perhaps I should say a comic distraction as the actors tried their best to remain serious.

Usually, there was a large star made of cardboard and covered in tinfoil which rested on top of the stable, but this year was different. This year was special! One of the missionaries had attached a rope to the roof of the stable and extended it across the lawn to the roof of Francis Jones. This year, the star was suspended from the rope. It was to be pulled across the lawn in front of the Wisemen as they walked towards the stable. Also as the star moved across the lawn, it was to be illuminated by a spotlight from the ground. What a great play it was going to be this year!! And, how lucky my brother was to be walking under that spotlighted star as he sang his song!


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