A story about a little boy's stage fright on Christmas Eve.
|Devin Parks sat on the floor of his bedroom, playing with a toy fire engine he had gotten for Christmas a few years before. A young years of five, Devin enjoyed playing with his truck far more than putting on the costume his Mommy had made for him. It was a Christmas costume for a church play. Night was coming, but instead of sleeping at his usual time, Devin got to stay up to play a role in Mommy's church play. But Devin didn't want to go. He loved Christmas, but Devin was afraid of people looking at him. He barely liked meeting anyone new. And now, a bunch of people he had never met were going to be staring at him.
"They're gonna laugh at me," he said with a huff.
He looked at the costume on his bed and shook his head. "No. I don't wanna. Everyone's gonna make fun of me."
Little Devin had one line in the entire play. But he didn't want to say it. Too many people would be watching and he was so afraid. A knock came to his door. He stared at it but didn't answer. "Devin?" came the voice of his Daddy. "Devin can I come in."
Not wanting to be disobedient, little Devin nodded his head. "Yes, Daddy."
Mr. Parks slowly opened the door. He looked at Devin and smiled, then he sat next to him on the floor. "What fire is your truck putting out."
"It isn't," answered Devin, "it already did."
"Ah, I see," said Mr. Parks.
"Devin, are you afraid to perform tonight?"
Devin nodded. He was. "Why are you afraid?" asked Mr. Parks.
"I don't want people to laugh at me," said Devin.
A tear fell from Devin's eye and landed on his cheek. Mr. Parks wiped the tear away. "Who's going to laugh at you?"
"Everyone," said Devin.
"Well," said Mr. Parks, "I don't think so. You have one line and you remember it, right?"
Devin nodded. "I'm Jack," he said.
"Then if you know your line, you'll be fine."
"But lots of people will be watching, Daddy."
Mr. Parks sighed and looked at Devin. "Pretend they're not there. Pretend it's just me, and say 'I'm Jack,' right to me. And, if you say 'I'm Jack,' I'll buy you the biggest ice cream cone you ever had."
Devin's eyes grew big. "Really?"
"Yes," said Mr. Parks.
Feeling a little better, Devin agreed to say his line. That night, the church was crowded. Everyone had come to the service to not only see a play but to sing songs, and hear about the Son of God who was born to a virgin in a stable so many years ago, the One who saves all mankind from their sins. In this crowded church, Devin's Mommy started the play. It was forty-five minutes long and halfway through, was Devin's line. He played a Christmas tree named Jack. Then, the moment came. Devin followed all the other children onstage and rather mumble when asked what his name was, Devin looked into the audience. He saw his Daddy in the front row and said his name loud and clear. "I'm Jack!"
Mr. Parks smiled. And Devin smiled with glee as he and the other children who played trees left the stage. Later that evening, Mr. Parks took Devin to Mickey's Burger Shop. There, they both had an ice cream cone. But Devin wasn't only happy that he got an ice cream cone, he realized that he loved performing. Many in the audience smiled when he said his line, and he wondered, What if I could make them laugh?
And in a few years, Devin got his wish. Because he chose to not be afraid and learned to take a chance, little Devin grew up to entertain many people as an actor, director, and even producer. But he never forgot how it all started. With a little Christmas bribe.