christopher's christmas

the story of a little boy facing his fears and coming to terms with changes in life


It was nearly Christmas and Christopher's
Sunday School always did a Nativity play.

Mrs Lindley the Sunday School
teacher said to Christopher,
"Christopher you sing so
beautifully and can remember
things so well. We want you to
be the Angel Gabriel in the
Nativity play"




And Christopher said:
"No, I don't want to be
in the Christmas play"

The Vicar came to
Christopher and said,
"Mrs Lindley wants you
to be in the Nativity play,
you sing so beautifully,
you will be a lovely Angel Gabriel."


And Christopher said,
"No, I don't want to be
in the Christmas play"

Later at home Christopher and his mother
were unpacking the Christmas box ...

sparkling tinsel, Christmas tree decorations,
fairy lights and stockings

His mother said,
"The vicar and Mrs Lindley
would like you to be Angel
Gabriel in the Nativity play."

And Christopher said,
"No, I don't want to be
in the Christmas play"


"But why?" asked
Christopher's mother,
"You sing so beautifully
and everyone likes to
listen to you".

"I don't want everyone
to laugh at me",
answered Christopher.

"Of course no one will laugh at you"
said his mother.

"They did last year", said Christopher.

Last year Christopher
had been much younger
and was a shepherd
in the Nativity play.

"You look lovely"
said Mrs Lindley

"You're a brave boy",
said the vicar

Christopher had dressed
up as a shepherd.



He wore an old dressing gown.
It was a grown-up dressing gown
and his mother cut off the bottom so it fitted,
but it still went all the way to the ground.

On his head he wore an old tea towel
and he held the toy lamb his daddy had
given him at his last birthday.

On the day of the play
everyone was there.
His mother sat in the front row,
next to the vicar.

Jenny's mother and father were there
and Ben's mother and father.

Everyone from the village.


At the right time
Christopher sang
"While shepherds watched"



and his mother smiled,
and the vicar smiled ...
and everyone smiled.


Then it was time for him
to give the lamb
to the baby Jesus.

But as he walked
across the stage ...
he tripped on the
dressing gown ...
and fell over.

Christopher got up,
and his knee hurt
where he had fallen over,
but he didn't cry.


And everyone laughed
and Christopher felt sad,
but he didn't cry.

Then it was time for
Christopher to say his words.
He looked to the front, but
he couldn't see his mother,
he couldn't see the vicar,
he couldn't see Jenny's
mother and father,
he couldn't see Ben's
mother and father ...

All he could see was eyes,
lots and lots of eyes,
all staring at him.



The lights were so bright
and Christopher couldn't
remember what to say.

"Here's a lamb
for baby Jesus"
said Mrs Lindley,
from the side of the stage.

But Christopher
couldn't say anything.

He tried,
but his mouth just opened
and he couldn't say anything.

"It's OK" said Mrs Lindley
"just give the lamb to Jesus"

But Christopher just
stood there.

"Go on give it to him"
said Mrs Lindley

But Christopher held tightly
to the lamb his daddy
had given him.
"No" he said,
"I'm not giving it, it's mine".

And everyone laughed, and
Christopher was sad,
but he didn't cry.

Afterwards Mrs Lindley said
"It's alright, you did very well"
and she laughed.



And the vicar said,
"you sang lovely
and you're a brave boy"
and smiled.


But all Christopher could
think about was that
everyone laughed,
and he felt sad,
but he didn't cry.


On Christmas Day the
Grannies and Grandpa
came for dinner. 


Christopher's mother told
them about the play.


And they laughed.


Then Grannie McKenzie said
"I remember when Tommy
was a little boy, he was in the
Christmas play and ..."


But then Grandpa
said something to her
and Grannie Arnold said
"let's play a game".


So he never heard
the rest of the story. 
Christopher was sad,
and he didn't understand why,
but he didn't cry.

"So that's why I don't want to be in the play" said Christopher.

"I understand" said his mother. "But everyone smiled
when you sang"

"Yes", said Christopher

"And you' re so much
bigger than last year"

"Yes" said Christopher,
"but they may laugh again"


"I'm sure they won't"
said his mother,

"but if anything
happens, just think –
everyone wants to
hear you sing –
don't let anything stop you"


"OK" said Christopher,
"I'll be in the play"
and suddenly he felt so excited.


"I'm so glad you'll
be in the play",
said Mrs Lindley.


"I'm looking forward to
hearing you sing",
said the vicar.

"Can people in heaven hear us sing",
asked Christopher.

"Yes, I'm sure they can",
said the vicar,
"so you can sing for them too"

On the day of the play
Christopher was dressed
in an old sheet his mother
had cut up for him.

He stood at the front and said
"Don't be afraid!
I bring good news."

And he looked out and
everyone smiled:
his mother, the vicar,
Jenny's mother and father,
Ben's mother and father and
everyone in the village.



Later it was his turn to
sing "Nowell, Nowell".

He sang it all on his own
and he didn't forget a
single word.

Everyone smiled.

Then Christopher remembered
what his mother had said
"everyone wants you to sing". 

So Christopher started to sing
"Away in a Manger",
then "Once in Royal David's City",
and every Christmas carol he knew.


Mrs Lindley wanted him to stop,
but he remembered
what his mother had said
"don't let anything stop you".

He sang "O Little Town of Bethlehem" and "While Shepherds Watched".

Then Mrs Lindley got
on the stage ...
and then ...
she tripped and fell over.

And everyone laughed,
but Christopher didn't mind.


After the play
Mrs Lindley said,
"Thank you Christopher"

The vicar said,
"you sound like you
could sing forever",
and smiled.

"You were lovely",
said his mother,
"your daddy would have
been proud of you".

On Christmas Day
Grannie McKenzie and
Grandpa and Grannie Arnold
came for dinner.

Christopher's mother told them all
about the Nativity play"

"How lovely", said Grannie Arnold,
"will you sing for us later".

Grannie McKenzie said,
"I remember when your daddy
was a little boy". 
Then she looked at
Christopher's mother.

"Go on", said Christopher's mother.

"Well", said Grannie McKenzie,
"He was Joseph in the Nativity play ..."
and she told the whole story.

Christopher felt so happy,
but in a funny way. 
And he cried a little too.
But it was a good sort of crying.

It was a good Christmas.

This was written after seeing a nativity play in December 2001. Why do people laugh so much at small children doing serious 'work'? It is also a little cathartic for me although Christopher is a lot younger than I was when I had to face a similar Christmas as child.

also available as PDF (1.2Mb)

Alan Dix © 2001,2002