Singing debut with Jesus

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

My nephew Collier is 4 years old and can sometimes be shy. That was the case last weekend when I tried to coax the information about his Christmas program out of him.

&uot;Sing me the song you’re going to sing,&uot; I begged, only to have him turn away and bury his head in his mother’s shoulder.

&uot;At least tell me the name of your song,&uot; I asked him.

&uot;Don’t know the name,&uot; he said, taking a moment to lift his head. &uot;It’s about a farm.&uot;

A farm? Collier’s group is singing &uot;Old McDonald&uot; for Christmas?

&uot;It’s about Jesus and a farm,&uot; he said, still refusing to sing for me.

&uot;A farm? You mean a manger? You’re singing &uot;Away in a Manger?&uot; I asked him. He nodded.

At least we had the answer.

I was getting a little worried that Collier would break out in a rendition of &uot;E-I-E-I-O&uot; instead of &uot;no place for a bed.&uot;

The entire Jesus in a farm incident made me think back to the time when I was 10 and made my acting debut in our school’s Christmas pageant.

I was attending a private school at a church and the school was known for its elaborate holiday productions.

I was thrilled when I was chosen to be a swan. My parents were thrilled, too, until they saw the plans for the costume I had to wear.

The costume featured a full feathered set of wings, white body and, to literally top it all off, a swan’s head that rose four feet off my own.

My face stuck out of a hole cut in the swan’s neck.

&uot;This sure does seem like a lot of work,&uot; my dad said, drawing plans to make sure the swan didn’t come down with a broken neck in the middle of &uot;Oh, Come All Ye Faithful.&uot;

My parents spent weeks and lots of money constructing the swan outfit, which I wore proudly to my play. I stood on the stage amidst the realistic cows, shepherds and sheep.

&uot;I’m glad she wasn’t asked to be a camel,&uot; Dad said.

Finally, the moment of truth arrived. Putting one orange foot first, I stepped to the front of the stage and said:

&uot;For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.&uot;

Then, I waddled back to my place on stage.

That was it. All those weeks of work, money spent on feathers and those large wings was for a brief moment in the spotlight. And while it was brief, the memories of that event have lasted awhile.

My dad still loves to tell the story of making the swan outfit and of my all-too-brief acting debut. I think I’ll call Dad tonight and tell him about Collier’s production. Perhaps he can start working on a farm for Jesus.

Leada DeVaney Gore is the publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer and the Madison County Record. She is the former managing editor of the Shelby County Reporter and can be reached at