I'm supposed to say something at church on Christmas Eve. Forgive me Lord but I don't really want to do this. I mean I have enough trouble just speaking normal Japanese to my friends and family. Trying to get up in front of a bunch of people and say something meaningful is beyond me. So what am I going to do? Maybe relate a Christmas story about how one little boy almost ruined a Christmas pageant, or maybe made it especially meaningful.
Wally was a big boy and a little slow on the uptake. But he was kind and loving and looked out for the younger children when they joined in the games. When Christmas time came around and the teacher started talking about putting on a Christmas pageant, Wally had his heart set on playing the role of one of the angels. Ah, to wear a white robe and have a sparkling wire halo! To join with the other angels and sing,
"Hark the herald angels sing~~ Glory to the newborn King~~".
The teacher however had other plans. She thought Wally would make a great innkeeper. Since he was taller than the other children, he looked big and strong and despite his soft-hearted personality he would make a fine innkeeper.
"Wally, this year you are going to be our innkeeper. It is a very important part. The innkeeper stands alone by the inn and sends Joseph and Mary away. The innkeeper gets to have his own lines in the play. Yes, Wally. I think you will be great innkeeper. Just remember to look stern."
Wally was not so sure. He really liked the angels' halos... But as always, Wally worked hard at any job he was given so for the next couple weeks he diligently practiced his lines for the play.
"What do you want?" "Seek it elsewhere." "The inn is filled." "There is no room in this inn for you." "No! Begone."
Whew! A lot of lines to remember.
The night of the Christmas pageant everyone was excited. Wally stood in the wings saying his lines under his breath. But gradually as shepherds and angels and Mary and Joseph came on stage and said their lines, Wally became more and more entranced, his eyes shining with joy as the Christmas story unfolded before his eyes.
"Psst! Wally, it's your turn to go on!"
Joseph quietly led Mary to the inn and knocked on the door where Wally was waiting.
"What do you want?" Wally pushed open the door brusquely.
"We seek shelter."
"Seek it elsewhere. The inn is filled."
Joseph pointed to Mary. "We have looked everywhere and we are very tired."
"There is no room in this inn for you." Wally was properly stern.
"Please good innkeeper. My wife is going to have a baby. She needs a place to rest."
And instead of sending Joseph and Mary on their way, Wally's stern expression relaxed and he looked worriedly at Mary.
"Psst! 'No! Begone" said the prompter behind the curtains.
"No! Begone!" repeated Wally.
Joseph and Mary turned away and walked slowly and carefully across the stage. And the innkeeper, who was supposed to slam the door shut, stood there silently and sadly watching the two tired people go. And as he watched, Wally's eyes filled with tears.
And that was when Wally changed the Christmas pageant for all the people present.
"Wait! Don't go, Joseph! Bring Mary back!" And Wally smiled brightly through his tears. "You can have my room!"
Well, some people thought that Wally had really messed things up that night. But others said Wally's tender and loving heart made it the most wonderful Christmas pageant they had ever seen.