Holy Child

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Children Stories  |  House: Booksie Classic

Nine year old Billie Jean is all excited to participate in the Christmas play at her church. Her teacher even promises her that she will have a solo in the play. However, her excitement levels plummet when she learns that the play isn’t about what she thought it would be about, and that she was given a role different than the one she preferred to have. Dejected and upset, Billie decides to quit the play mid rehearsal. She feels that she is justified in doing this and that her teacher is wrong, until she has an important conversation with her grandma that changes her perspective.

It’s Jesus’s Birthday!

Or at least, that’s what the banner said on the archway leading into the sanctuary. 

Billie Jean walked into the sanctuary of the church with all the other nine year olds in her class, and sat down in the pew nearest to the front of the church. 

Once they sat down, they each marvelled at the sight before them. 

The entire front of the church had been transformed into a nativity scene, complete with fake trees, a manger, a few roughly shaped huts, a fake donkey and a backdrop of the night sky. 

“What is all this,” Timothy asked. 

“It’s for the christmas play we’re going to be in,” Billie Jean answered. 

Unlike Timothy, Billie Jean had been listening in class when their sunday school teacher, Sis. Maxwell, told them that they were going to be going downstairs to rehearse for the christmas play. Right before they went downstairs, Sis. Maxwell pulled Billie Jean aside from the rest of class and told her that she would have a solo in the play, since she did so well with her solo in the thanksgiving play last month. After that, Billie Jean was extremely excited to receive her role in the play. 

However, when her teacher called all the students up to receive their roles, Billie Jean was disappointed when she received hers. 

“I’m a wiseman?” Billie Jean asked her teacher, incredulously. 

“Yes,” Sis. Maxwell said sternly, sliding her glasses up the bridge of her nose, “What did you expect to be?”

“I don’t know,” Billie said, twisting her hair which her mother had pressed that morning, “I wanted to be an elf,” she declared, with a defiant foot stomp, “If this is a christmas play, then I want to be an elf.” 

Sis. Maxwell shook her head, “Billie Jean Lockwood, there are no elves in the christmas story. Now go to the stage with the other students so we can rehearse lines for the play.”  Sis Maxwell said, pointing to the pulpit that had become a makeshift stage.

Billie Jean reluctantly walked up to the stage with other students. 

Sis. Maxwell stood in front of them, adjusting their placements, “Alright now wise men go over here,” she said, waving her arms in the direction she wanted the children to go. Billie Jean grumbled as she followed her direction and walked to the side of the stage where the small group of wise men had congregated. 

“Good, good,” Sis. Maxwell said, “Now, Mary and Joseph please come to the stage and stand next to the wisemen.” 

The two teenagers came and stood on the stage next to the wisemen as Sis. Maxwell instructed. 

Billie Jean poked the shoulder of the teenage girl who was playing Mary. 

“Excuse me,” Billie said. 

The girl quickly turned around, “hey,” she said in a friendly tone, “what’s up?”

Billie did her best to lower her voice as she prepared herself to ask the question that had been burning on the tip of her tongue since Sis. Maxwell told her that there were no elves in the christmas story. 

“How come santa isn’t in the Christmas play,” she asked the girl, “since this is the christmas story, you can’t have a christmas story without Santa.” 

The girl shrugged, unsure of how to answer Billie Jean’s question, “I guess Santa didn’t exist when Jesus was born,” she said uneasily, “so that’s why he’s not in the story.” 

“But Santa always existed,” Billie Jean proclaimed in outrage, “and he’s father Christmas, so he should be in the play and not Jesus.” 

Her words caused heads to turn, including the head of Sis. Maxwell. She stared at Billie intensely.

“What did you just say Billie Jean?” Sis. Maxwell asked in a threatening tone. 

“I want to know why Jesus is in the play but not Santa,” Billie repeated, “Santa is Father christmas, so the play should be all about him.” 

She figured Sis. Maxwell would be impressed with her argument. She obviously did some research, she hoped that her words could have persuaded her teacher to rethink the christmas play, and maybe give her the role as an elf that she rightfully deserved. 

But Sis. Maxwell’s tone was far from that of concession. She folded her arms across her chest and cocked her brow. 

“Because the play is not about him Billie,” she explained exasperatedly, “it’s about Jesus. Jesus is the reason for Christmas. Now, please stop talking so we can get on with rehearsal.” 

This time Billie was the one to fold her arms across her chest, she was incensed by the whole "so-called" christmas production. What Christmas production didn't include a santa claus somewhere in it?

“No,” Billie jean shouted, “If I can’t be an elf, then I don’t want to be in this play at all.” 

“Fine,” Sis. Maxwell said, swiftly taking her by the arm and walking her down the steps and off stage,  “we’ll just find someone to replace your part. You can sit in the pews until your parents arrive.” 

Billie pouted as she plopped down in her seat. She dreaded the idea of her parents having to hear about this.

As soon as Sis. Maxwell announced that Billie would no longer be in the play, Timothy raised his hand. "Sis. Maxwell, Sis. Maxwell," he called while waving his arm frantically. 

"Yes, Timothy?" Sis. Maxwell said with a sigh.

“Can I have Billie’s part instead of the part of the angel?” He asked, much to Billie’s dismay. 

“Of course,” Sis. Maxwell said with a smile, “you can be the new wise man.”

“But what about my solo?” Billie cried, “Timothy can’t sing.”

“Thanks to your bad behaviour the entire musical number is going to be taken out of the play,” Sis. Maxwell announced. 

Her announcement was followed by the collective groans of all the students. 

Billie sunk down in her seat on the pew, realizing that her actions had produced a load of consequences that she did not expect. 

Later that day when Billie was picked up by her parents, they asked her what had happened. 

“I just found out that Santa Claus isn’t in the Christmas play,” She told them with crocodile tears in her eyes as she sat in the backseat, “Sis. MaxWell wouldn’t let me be an elf, she made me be a wise man.” 

“Well, we talked to Sis. Maxwell and the role she gave you sounded pretty good, you even get to sing a solo,” Her mother said.

“But I don’t want to be a wise man though,” she complained, “I’m a girl. I want to be Holly, the jolly elf.” 

“Well, honey because you misbehaved we will have to tell your grandma about what happened.” Her father said.

At this Billie began to quake with fear, “No, not Grandma Sherry, you can’t tell her.” 

Billie knew that if her grandma had been made aware of how she acted, she would be disappointed with her, and probably take her christmas present back to the store. Her grandmother always gave her wonderful gifts, and this year she asked for a barbie house. 

She had already lost the solo that Sis. Maxwell promised her, and she couldn’t stand the idea of losing her dream house with it. 

“Then tomorrow, you better make an apology to Sis. Maxwell and all the other students in the production for acting so bad tempered. And be a wise man in the play like Sis. maxwell had asked,” Her mother said sternly. 

“Okay, I will,” Billie said begrudgingly. She still wasn’t entirely convinced that Sis. Maxwell deserved an apology. 

When they finally arrived at her grandmother’s house they were greeted at the door with the smell of freshly baked sweet potato pies. 

“I just pulled them out the oven,” her grandmother said, coming from around the corner with her apron and oven mitts on, “How is my precious granddaughter today,” she said to Billie. 

Billie ran into her grandmother’s arms, placing her head on her apron, “Grandma, I had an awful day.” She said defeatedly.

“Well, tell Grandma all about it.” They walked to the kitchen table while her parents walked into the living room. She pulled out a seat for Billie and a seat for herself. 

Billie sat down and rested her head in her arms, not wanting to look at her grandmother while she spoke, “Today, we were supposed to start rehearsing for the christmas play but my teacher told me that I couldn’t be an elf, then she said that Santa wasn’t in the play. Why is Santa not in the play but  Jesus is? Santa is more important than Jesus, he’s Father Christmas.” 

“So you’re mad because Jesus isn’t as important as Santa?” her grandmother asked.

Billie lifted her head from off the table, “Yes, Santa gives toys to the whole world, he knows when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake, he knows when you’re good or bad, Jesus is just a baby.” 

She thought back to the set that they had just left, how the only thing that laid in the manger was a tiny brown baby doll that cried and laughed when you squeezed it, and yet Sis. Maxwell had directed all of them to stand around the baby. It wasn’t glamorous or flashy like Santa and his workshop, it was bland and ordinary, she couldn’t imagine what could be so special about an ordinary baby. 

“He wasn’t just a baby honey,” her grandma said, interrupting her thoughts, “he was a holy child. Do you know the story of what happened in that manger?”

“No,” Billie hadn’t known what happened, but she was curious to learn why the baby in the play was so important. 

Her grandma smiled, “Well, let Grandma tell you. It started with a very young woman, her name was Mary. She was just a teenager, and God sent an angel to visit her and deliver a very important message. That message was to tell Mary that she was pregnant and that the child that she was going to give birth to would be the son of God. And do you know what the angel said that she should name him?”

“Jesus,” Billie guessed.

“Yes, Jesus which means that he will save his people from their sins. Do you know what sins are?”

“No, Grandma.” 

“Sins are the bad things that we do. Like lying, and talking back to our parents, and doing things that we shouldn’t.”

“Like when Timothy was talking during service after his mom told him not to, so she made him sit far away from me and Breanna.”

“Yes, and just like how Timothy was punished for doing wrong, we were also going to be punished by God for the wrong things we did. But then Jesus was born in a manger, he came to take our punishment for us.” 

“Oh,” Billie said, soaking in her grandmother’s words, “but, he didn’t do anything wrong. Why would he do that?”

“Because he loves you Billie Jean, he loves all of us so much that he died for all the wrong things that we did, even though he never did anything wrong himself. That way we could go to heaven and have life with God forever.” 

“Okay, but what does that have to do with Christmas?” 

“I’m glad you asked, when Jesus was born it wasn’t just the birth of any baby, he wasn’t just any child. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, when he died for our sins he rose from the grave on the third day with all power in his hands. People had been waiting for hundreds of years for Jesus to come, and when he came there were angel choruses and people rejoiced because the King had finally arrived.”

“Wow, so Jesus was a King?”

“Yes, that’s why the wise men presented him with gifts, because he was a king and that is what you do for kings.” 

“That makes him way better than Santa Claus,” Billie concluded.

“Santa Claus might give gifts, but the gifts he gives will never last forever. They will eventually get old, break, and not be useful anymore. God gave us Jesus and Jesus gave us the gift of eternal life, eternal means that it will last forever.” 

“Did Jesus die for me?”

“Yes, he did, he died for all of us. Now your mommy and daddy told me over the phone that you were causing trouble with your Sunday school teacher, they said you were arguing with her and stomped off the stage.”

“Oh yeah, that,” Billie felt so embarrassed she fought the urge to hide under the table and disappear, “ Is it a sin to argue with your teacher grandma?” she asked bashfully.

Her grandma nodded, “Yes it is, so you need to ask for forgiveness and repent.”

“How do I do that?”

“Like this,” her grandma began, she folded her hands and then looked at Billie to make sure she knew to do the same, then she bowed her head and closed her eyes, “dear Lord, thank you for giving me everything I need. Thank you for giving me two parents that love me, and two grandparents that love me. Please forgive me for yelling at my teacher today, and being rude and mean towards her. I repent for this behavior and promise not to do it again.  Help me to listen and be obedient to my teacher. In Jesus Name , Amen.”

“Amen,” Billie repeated.

“Now when you get home, repeat that prayer and ask forgiveness. Once you’ve asked for forgiveness, God has forgiven you. Then when you go to church tomorrow for rehearsal, apologize to Sis. Maxwell and tell her that you won’t cause anymore trouble in her class.” 

“Okay, I will.I love you Grandma.” 

“I love you too baby.” 

That night, when Billie Jean went home, she prayed the prayer her grandmother taught her. She didn’t remember the words verbatim, but she did her best to sound sincere, knowing that God was listening to her and that she wanted him to forgive her. She also prayed that God would allow Sis. Maxwell to put her back in the play as a wise man. She knew she probably wouldn’t be able to sing the solo anymore, but she at least wanted to be a part of a play that celebrated the real meaning of christmas. 

After she finished praying, she took her script from out of her backpack and rehearsed her lines. She not only wanted her teacher to be pleased with her, but she also wanted God to be pleased with her as well. 

After two hours of rehearsing with her parents, she had all of her lines memorized and she was ready to go to tomorrow's rehearsal. While reading her lines with her family, she began to understand the importance of the wise men. She asked her parents questions and through their answers she was able to comprehend how great of a role it was. Elves delivered gifts to children all over the world, but the wise men delivered gifts to Jesus, the son of God. None of the children the elves delivered to would ever became the savior of the world, but Jesus did. 

When she arrived at the church for rehearsal she slowly approached Sis. Maxwell. 

When Sis. Maxwell turned around and saw her standing behind her, she looked surprised. 

“Billie, I didn’t think you were coming to rehearsals anymore?”

“I know,” she said sorrowfully, “ I wanted to apologize to you for the way I acted yesterday. I shouldn’t have yelled and walked off the stage, I promise I will listen and be obedient to you from now on.” She bent her head in both shame and pentenance, feeling for the first time the weight of her actions. She had truly been a bad student, and she didn’t deserve to be put back in the play, but she hoped Sis. Maxwell would let her back in anyway. 

Sis. Maxwell paused in thought before speaking, “Okay Billie Jean, thank you for that sincere apology,” she said, “ and for having such a good attitude, I’m going to put you back in the play and you your solo back as well.” 

“Yay! Thank you Sis. Maxwell,” she said hugging her waist. She couldn’t believe it. This was what her grandmother was talking about when she said that God had forgiven her. This is what it meant to be forgiven, to not only be saved from what you deserve but to also be blessed with what you don’t deserve. 

“You’re welcome, but there has been a change in the play. Since Timothy is now a wise man, you get to play the angel that speaks to the shepherds.” 

Billie swallowed nervously, “Okay,” she hadn’t read the lines for the other parts, she only knew the lines for the wise man. Good thing it was only rehearsal and so she could mess up as many times as she liked. 

As Billie Jean walked onto the stage, she felt special being able to play the role of the angel. 

When the shepherds appeared on the stage, she stood in front of them and read her lines. 

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” 

Wow, Billie thought as she read her lines, Jesus’ birth really was good news for all people. 

 

Then all the angels sang happy birthday to Jesus, and she sang her solo. Sis. Maxwell clapped and cheered for them, overjoyed with how well the rehearsal had gone. 

Billie smiled, she felt really happy playing an angel. Not only were they gifted with song, but they were also the messengers of the good news of the birth of Christ. 

It was way better than playing an elf.

 


Submitted: December 22, 2020

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