|Homemade Red Velvet cake|
Today, I thought a slice of Red Velvet cake would be appropriate in the spirit of the Holiday season. Pull up a chair and join me for a slice of cake and a slice of life. Journey with me to December 2012 as my son prepares for a Christmas program.“Why do I have to be a shepherd?” my son asked.
My son and I stood in the vestibule of our church, preparing for the annual Christmas program. Although we were surrounded by other Sunday school teachers and children sorting through costumes, I felt like I was the only one dealing with a complainer.“You said you would take a non-speaking part in the Christmas program this year” I reminded him.
He quickly found an excuse to worm his way out of the obligation. “My hair is too puffy to fit under the head wrap,” he said, forcing his hair under the cloth.But I wasn’t letting him off that easily. “The people in biblical times made it work, so we will too.”
It was our family tradition to participate in the annual church Christmas program. But once my boys became teenagers, they thought they were too old to participate. At thirteen-year-old, Joshua, thought he had seen his final curtain call at age twelve. However, due to several youth going out of town for the holiday, we needed him once again.During rehearsals Joshua slouched in his chair as other kids recited their parts. He twisted and turned uncomfortably. When his eyes met my gaze, his brows furrowed and he looked at me, pleading. You would have thought he was having a tooth pulled without any anesthetics.
My friend and co-director of the Christmas play crouched down near Joshua and spoke softly. She still used her pet name for him. “Baby J, if you participate in the play, I’ll take you to your favorite restaurant.” His face released a little tension as he said, “Ok.” The Reluctant Shepherd now had a new purpose for his performance.A few days before the big production, Joshua and I talked about the real reason for his participation in the play. I relayed to him the importance of the role of the shepherd. “The shepherd is a leader who protects and guides. You shouldn’t have to be bribed to play such an important role.”
He looked at me intently then said, “Ok, but can Ms. Jones still buy me a hamburger?”
The big day finally arrived and the actors took their places in anticipation of their roles. The double doors leading into the sanctuary were closed. Joshua was at the front of the line followed by two other young shepherds.
When the doors finally opened, Joshua led the other shepherds down the red carpeted aisle. As the narrator read about the star in the east, the shepherds pointed skyward and continued on their journey.The shepherds made their exit and the play was over. With delight in his voice Joshua said, “That was over quick. I’ll help again next year, but I want to be the director.”
Months went by and Joshua forgot about the bribe of a free meal at his favorite restaurant. But he didn’t forget about the sense of accomplishment he felt when he completed his role in the Christmas program. The reluctant shepherd had become the good shepherd.Do you have a Holiday memory to share?