And Lo, the Star Went Before Them – Part 2
In another part of the yard, a group of little angels dressed in white sheets with glittered wings and tin foil halos, stood elevated on a table that had been draped with a white table cloth. These were the Heavenly Hosts standing on clouds singing to the shepherds. However, owing to the fact that the Heavenly Hosts were actually little elementary age girls who did not have microphones, their song was very difficult to hear. As they sang, the little shepherds alternated between chasing lost sheep and shouting to the angels in a loud stage whisper, “Louder! Louder!”
But the show must go on, and our play was no exception. Soon it was time for the Wisemen to make their entrance. My brother and his cohorts began their trek from the corner of Francis Jones Guest House to the stable following the lighted star and singing as they went. “We three kings of Orient are… bearing gifts; we traverse afar. Field and fountain, moor and mountain, following yonder star. O star of wonder, star of night star with royal beauty bright…”
But midway to the stable, catastrophe struck! The rope broke and the “star of wonder, star of night” went crashing to the ground! Undeterred, the Wisemen continued on their journey to the stable; each stepping over the fallen star as they came upon it on the ground, still singing its praises and looking upward as if it was still in front of them.
What a funny Christmas pageant! That year the errant sheep were not needed for comic relief! They were nothing compared with the star! After the play was over, the mission family who had gathered on that warm, clear, African night shared refreshments, gifts, and laughs. And to this day, I never think of the Christmas story without giggling a little as my heart remembers, with fondness, that pageant and the ill-fated star.