Contributor post by Michelle of EviesToolEmporium
What is your Christmas Inspiration?
I lived a childhood filled with fun, fishing, family vacations and inspiration from a wonderful Christian family. This Christmas memory stands out as one of the best.
Hello! My name is Opal Leasure, my husband Jerry and I run the Apron Strings Owl Lady Shop, and also Jerry’s Vintage Depot. I am grateful for this opportunity to share a Christmas memory with you today. Christmas in July is a wonderful Etsy experience and I hope all of you are enjoying it.
The Christmas Play
In the little Pentecostal church of my childhood, the sanctuary always felt just right, especially at Christmastime.
It was a place where you felt good when you walked in and inspired when you left. Looking back, I now realize the people emanated the warmth more than the radiator, and Christmas was alive in their hearts year round.
In second grade, it was with great pride and enthusiasm that I was accepted into the Christmas play to recite scripture in a white gown and gossamer angel wings.
Mother had meticulously glued every white feather with love and I was to look truly radiant as I pronounced God’s word with love and Christmas cheer.
The night of the Christmas play things weren’t going real smoothly at our home, where five children (angels and apostles), Jesus (my dad) and the song leader (mom) readied themselves for the service – all with parts in the Christmas play and wanting to look just right for their appearances.
We arrived and lo and behold, (church not the play), had begun without us.
By my 7 year old calculations we were not late enough for someone else to be already be wearing my gown and wings – but to my horror, upon entering the side door with mom, there stood someone else’s cousin from out of town – proudly wearing my iridescent, wonderfully made celestial wings.
To me they were not just pieces of cardboard covered with fluff. They were the very essence of every word in my condensed scripture reading, carefully memorized word for word to honor our Savior’s birth.
I saw my mother with the women in charge of the play, their voices grew louder then lower, as they pointed first to me, then to the delighted little newcomer in my wings.
“Which heart do you break?” was reflected in their faces.
And then the decision.
As the house lights were dimmed and Away In a Manger softly played by the organist, I was asked to say my piece.
Wingless and robeless, with a starched white blouse and red plaid Christmas skirt my only outfit, little Opal Kay was placed between the velvet drapes, spotlight shining, all eyes in the church upon her face.
Heartbroken, I remember blinking back the tears as best I could and with the bright lights shining on me, deep breath, I was resolved to do my very best.
Except for slight coughs, muffled chair shifting and babies babbling, I couldn’t see the audience but knew my family and church family watched in the darkness.
My folded card held in a sweaty palm, I began my recital. I did not realize that news of my costume misappropriation had already spread like wildfire through the tiny church filled with numerous elders and others who loved and called me “Phillips baby girl.”
There was no microphone, but you could hear a pin drop as hot tears streamed down rosy cheeks and my tiny voice sent the message to the people.
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise, when as His Mother, Mary, was espoused to Joseph, before they came together she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
As I spoke the tears began to leave and my voice grew louder and bolder with each word. “Behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying ‘Joseph, thou son of David, fear not! Mary shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins.”
As the house lights went up I saw a congregation of smiling, supportive faces, applauding in standing ovation for a wingless child standing alone on the stage.
After the play I was hugged unmercifully by every matriarch in the church, my curly top ruffled by all and felt God’s love that Christmas season like never before.
No matter how old I get – on winged or wingless days – one of the most important things my never-ending-childhood continues to show me is that Jesus is truly without a doubt, the greatest gift of all.
Remembering the reason for the season – Much love and Merry Christmas in July to all! – Opal
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