It’s eight days before Christmas and Pastor Steve is thrilled with the ticket sales for their big fund-raiser – a spectacular Christmas pageant that raises enough money to keep New Life Shelter for Men running all year.
Then the phone rings. The news goes from bad to worse and it looks like the entire show will have to be cancelled. But Steve’s right hand man, Stanley, convinces him that they and the homeless men in the shelter can make it all happen.
With only a few short hours to do it, Pastor Steve scrambles to help Stanley organize the men and find the missing props, costumes and backdrop. “Improvise” becomes the order of the day and Pastor Steve keeps praying that it will, as Stanley insists, all come together in the end.
And the unexpected glory unfolds.
“Thank you for letting me know.” I knew my voice sounded morose but I couldn’t keep my despair from showing. I hung up and put my head in my hands. I’d been running New Life Shelter for Men for the past ten years and we’d always had tremendous success with the Christmas pageant. Five churches banded together to perform a pageant that was a spectacle to behold. It was the highlight of the Christmas season for the whole city. Everyone expected it to be on the eighth day before Christmas. Everyone expected it to be amazing. It was also our main fundraiser. Without the pageant we would be in danger of having to close our doors.
I lifted my head to see Stanley standing in the doorway, his shaggy red head cocked to one side.
“I’m afraid so, Stanley. Big trouble.”
He stepped closer. “What’s up?”
“We have to cancel the pageant.”
“What? We can’t. It’s tonight. And we’ve sold every ticket.”
I shook my head. “Linda Thomas just called. A bunch of their kids have measles. Everyone else is under quarantine. The orchestra from Grace Community too.” I held out my hands, palms up. “We have nothing.”
Stanley slumped into the chair opposite my desk. He stared at his scuffed work boots for a while. Then he straightened and his head came up. “Not true, boss,” he said.
“We’ve got everything we need right here. The residents. Yup, yup. The residents can do it.”
I shook my head. “Stanley …”
He stood up, his shaggy head nodding. “Most of them have seen it a gazillion times. They have the lines in their heads. Yup. Yup. All we have to do is get them going.”
Marcia Lee Laycock lives and writes in central Alberta Canada. Her writing began in the attic of her parents’ home where she wrote short stories and poetry for her dolls. They didn’t complain so she kept it up. Encouraged by her teachers, her love of reading and writing grew as she studied Journalism and Honours English at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Commenting on one of her first assignments, a professor wrote: “I expected beer and pretzels. You gave me champagne and caviar. Thank you!” Her first short story was published in 1988, the same year in which she began writing a faith column for a local newspaper. That evolved into her first devotional book, Spur of the Moment, which has just gone into a third edition. Her devotionals are also published regularly by both newspapers and online. She is a regular Sunday devotional columnist for Novel Rocket. com. Her poetry has been produced by CBC radio and her first novel, One Smooth Stone, won her the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was recently short-listed in the contemporary fiction category of The Word Awards at Write!Canada. Her writing has won many awards and been endorsed by Janette Oke, Phil Callaway, Sigmund Brouwer and Mark Buchanan. Marcia is a sought-after teacher at writers’ conferences and speaker for women’s events.
She can be reached via her website