Sunday, December 25, 2011

My Favorite Christmas Story

Merry Christmas to the blogosphere!

Last week, a girl I home teach and I sat down, shot the breeze for a little while, shared our holiday plans and current activities, and made our way to the lesson.  It was my turn to teach, so I decided to share a Christmas story.  I'll share it here as well.

Wallace Purling was in the second grade, but he should have been in the fourth.  He was big and clumsy, but was liked by all of the children in his class, who were much smaller than he was.  He had a kind heart, quick to come to the defense of anyone who he felt was being mistreated, and so gained the respect of everyone who knew him, even the boys who'd try their best to hide their frustration whenever slow, dim-witted Wally tried to play ball with them.

Christmas was getting close. The teacher had been preparing the class for the Christmas pageant since all the way back in October.  Wally wanted to be a shepherd so he could hear the angels bring their glad tidings and invite him to visit and bear testimony of the baby Jesus, but the teacher thought that having that many directions on stage would be difficult for Wally.  She reasoned that being the innkeeper would be a much better job for him.  After all, the innkeeper only had two lines to learn, and Wally's size would make him much more intimidating and convincing as a callous innkeeper than a meek shepherd. Wally was disappointed, but took his part with a willing heart and set about learning his lines immediately.

Well, the night of the pageant came.  The whole town showed up to see the children portray the night of our Savior's birth.  Little Joseph and Mary wandered about, searching for a place to rest for the night.  Tender Joseph walked up to the inn's door.  Wally flung open the door with a brusque gesture.  "What do you want?" he demanded.

"Please, sir," the little boy pleaded, "my wife Mary is with child and needs a place to sleep tonight."

Wally stood in the door, silent.  The audience began to feel awkward as they watched him, thinking he'd forgotten his lines.  Tears filled his eyes.  Somewhere offstage, the teacher whispered, "No, be gone. There is no room for you here," hoping to prompt Wally on.

With a choking voice, Wally repeated the line.  Joseph hung his head and turned to walk back to Mary. Wally should have walked back into the inn and closed the door, but stood and watched the forlorn mother and her husband with concern, great big tears rolling down his cheeks and a horribly depressed look on his face.  And then this pageant became different from every other.

With tears still filling his eyes he called, "Joseph, wait!  Come back! Bring Mary!"  And then, with a bright smile he said, "You can have my room."

Some in the town thought that Wally had managed to ruin the show, but most think that it was the most Christmas of any pageant ever.

As I told this story, my eyes too filled with tears and my voice broke.  I realized how important and amazing all of my Christmas chores were.  In the challenge of finding the perfect gifts for my family, making time for those in my life whom I love, and completing those necessary tasks I had, I'd lost the spirit that Wally showed.  I had no room in my heart for loving those I was serving, and so had no room for the Savior.  I came away with a new hope for my Christmas.  I wanted to give and get good gifts and I wanted to find the perfect tree for my family and I wanted to party with my friends, but the motivation was much more people-based.  My friends and family were no longer items on my checklist, but people I genuinely loved and wanted to see happy. And, as awesome as the first half of December was, the second half has been much, much better for it.

Merry Christmas.  I love those of you I know and I want to know those of you I don't know, so I can start loving you too.  Because God loves you.  Jesus Christ loves you.  Our Savior lives.  He was born to show us the way back to our Heavenly Father and through the grace of His Atonement, we are saved.  

1 comment:

  1. That is absolutely one of my favorite Christmas stories. Makes me cry every single time I read it. I stumbled across your blog while I was searching for a different Christmas story. Now I am intrigued I will have to come back when I have some time to actually read.


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