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By Carolyn L. Primm
In her fifty seventh year, Marian Feldwater was preparing for yet another children’s Christmas program. Javon Jameson was going to be the death of her, but she could not exclude him. Javon had attended Sunday School faithfully for over two years now. Marian had cast Javon as a shepherd. The shepherds had nothing to say, and Javon could simply walk across the stage with the other shepherds. Javon, unfortunately, had plenty to say, “Get movin’, you dumb sheep. Move yo butts on outta here!” Javon bellowed smacking his shepherd’s crook across the backs of the unsuspecting sheep-children and poking them in the rump. Marian had had it! Plunking Javon down, perhaps a bit too hard, as she thought about it later, Marian advised Javon not to move, or she would call his mother. It was an idle threat. They both knew it. Javon’s mother was unreachable, and she would not come if contacted. Surprisingly, Javon was still sitting there on the bench when practice ended.
“Can I please have a part? I be real good, I promise.” Javon’s pitiful expression dissolved Marian’s resistance like warm water over sugar. With what role could she entrust Javon? He simply could not keep his hands off the other children. Suddenly a thought occurred to her. The inn keeper! Brash and unyielding, Javon fit the part perfectly. As the inn keeper, Javon would be secluded from the other children for most of the play. Marian explained the role of the inn keeper to Javon, making the role sounds as powerful as possible. “You need to be stern when you open the door, Javon! Say, “There is NO room in the inn!” Marian bellowed, hands placed solidly on her hips. “Can you do that?” Javon could. Marian knew he could.
On the night of the program, the magical wonder of Christmas filled the air as it always does. Marian’s face shone as bright as the star of Bethlehem. All thoughts of Javon were erased until the moment when Joseph knocked on the door to the inn. Javon aggressively pushed his way out the door and stared down at Joseph with contempt. But then, his eyes caught sight of Mary in the distance. Instantly, Javon’s countenance changed, “You just come right on in here!” he said with authority. Marian’s chin jutted forward; her brow furrowed. Vehemently, she shook her head to signal to Javon that this was not his line. Javon was undeterred, “This gone a be Jesus’ birthday, Mrs. Feldwater. I gonna open my door and let Him in!” This Christmas I hope you will do the same.