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The day Herod left the building

Technology is amazing. Katie texted to let us know we could watch Briarwood Christian School’s first grade Christmas program via live-stream. Time and scheduling hadn’t allowed us to be at the presentation, so I was thrilled to tune in on my iPad.

James, our youngest grand, had a speaking part that he had rehearsed and mastered. He was King Herod, a part this grandmother would never have chosen for my “precious,” but miracles are left out of the Christmas story without a Herod.

As Othel and I watched the pageantry of multiple first grade groups adorned in angel wings, staffs, shifting halos and shepherd wear, we were gratified knowing our James was a cast member in this special place and telling the Christmas story.

Even though we couldn’t pick him out in the large group from the distant angle of the church camera, we knew his debut would come. We were ready.

During one of the carols, a small figure appeared from one of the riser rows, slowly walked down the steps and stopped at the director’s station down front and patted her on the leg. She quickly (without missing a musical beat) pointed him to the front row of the congregation. The robed actor scooted in beside the school principal where they had a brief conversation.

Suddenly a text beep interrupted the carol. Katie said, “James needs prayer!” Thinking it was getting close to his part, I paused to ask God for courage for Herod.

We continued observing the well-rehearsed play, and from the scripture being quoted knew it was close to James’ turn. To our amazement, the young figure seated by the principal stood up, ascended the steps to the mike and with crown still firmly mounted on his little head, said his lines perfectly. Then as the wise men took Herod’s instructions to leave, James went back down the steps and sat through the remainder of the program enjoying the presentation by his principal. 

Eli and Katie were quick to share how they “sweated bullets” when they saw James leave the stage. If he had decided he wouldn’t participate, they knew his strong will would mean an end to Herod’s lines in the play. However, James explained that he began feeling sick like he “might tho up!” He felt he should tell the music director, and she suggested the front row seat.

It will always be a family Christmas story to remember — the day Herod left the building. I’ll remember it as a little lamb needing a shepherd, being guided to the chief shepherd, and when he got there he was comforted, restored and strengthened to carry out his part. For me, without a doubt, James was the star of that presentation.

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camille@datalane.net.