Merry Christmas Eve-eve-eve!

Christmas is my favorite time of year!  I love the music and the lights and the decorations and wrapping presents and giving things to people and singing and making cookies and eating cookies and playing Christmas songs on my flute and watching old Christmas movies and all the love everyone feels and oh did I mention the music?  *phew!*

Anyway, as much as I love Christmas, in all my writing, I’ve only really written one Christmas story.  In fact, I’ve only written one thing that involves Christmas at all.  It’s kind of a strange Christmas story, and I feel like my structure is a little awkward in some places.  It doesn’t flow like I wish it would, although I love the basic idea of dancing stars.  I’ve read it and re-read it and re-read it and I can’t figure out what I don’t like about it, but I think maybe it’s the perspective.  Maybe first person would work better?  I don’t know.  If I ever get around to fixing it though, I promise I’ll post it.  The only reason I’m posting this version is because maybe someone wiser than me will see it and have some constructive advice for me.  In the meantime… this is The Star who Couldn’t Dance.

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A long time ago, way up in the sky, there lived a star named Hector.  Hector was a well behaved little star.  He shone at night like he was supposed to, and during the day he hid behind the sunlight, but there was just one problem:  Hector couldn’t dance.

Now, dancing was a fundamental must for stars.  It was a huge part of their job!  If you couldn’t dance, you couldn’t twinkle, and if you couldn’t do that… well, you just weren’t a very good star.

Hector knew this, and every day during his free time he would practice.  While all the other silly stars played games and goofed off (stars never sleep because they have far too much energy to stay still for any amount of time), Hector would be twirling and jumping and—“Crash!!!”—falling.  No matter how hard Hector tried or how long he practiced, he just couldn’t dance.  What could he do?  Already the other stars had realized his non-talent, and Hector knew that it wouldn’t be long before the North Star herself would come and tell him to leave.

“Beat it, loser,” Hector could hear her voice already, “If you can’t dance, you can’t twinkle, and if you can’t twinkle, you can’t stay here with the rest of us and ruin our fun.”

Hector sighed heavily, picked himself off the floor, and tried to dance again.  He kept hoping that maybe, just maybe, if he tried hard enough the saying, “Practice makes perfect!” would apply to him.

It was during one of his long practices that the great North Star called a meeting.  All stars were to report to her throne immediately.  Hector almost didn’t go.  After all, he couldn’t dance, so technically he wasn’t a star.  But something inside him told him he should attend, so he went and hid in the back of the crowd.

“All stars of the heavens, I have wonderful news!”  The North Star stood up and immediately the crowd was silent.  There were only two figures that could silence a group of fatuous stars:  the North Star and the Lord Himself.

“The Lord has decided that now is the time,” continued the North Star, “and within a few days He will be sending His son to the Earth.”

This brought a cheer from the stars, and Hector smiled to himself a little.  So the mortals would receive their Savior.  Wonderful!

“Jesus Himself will be here tomorrow,” the North Star silenced the rejoicing crowd with her calm, assertive voice, “and He will be choosing one of you…” here she paused, looking over her stars and their faces of awe, “yes, one of you to shine for him and show the world that the Messiah has come.”

Hector looked down sadly as all the other stars chattered excitedly.  He knew he would not be chosen.  The Lord would never choose a star for His birthday that couldn’t dance.  Slowly Hector headed back to his home, and as other stars sang praises of happiness and hope, he cried silent tears of despair.  Why couldn’t he dance?

The next day, the North Star summoned all the other stars back to her throne.

“Line up here single file,” she instructed, pointing to a spot in front of her throne, “and the Lord will look at you one by one and pick the one who will shine for Him.”

Hector made sure he was very last in line.  Perhaps the Lord would choose before He got to him.  Stars in front of Hector whispered giddily about the different steps they had learned to perform for Him, and Hector listened enviously.  If only he could dance!  Oh, if only he could dance.

All of a sudden, trumpets sounded from all around.  The North Star left her throne and knelt, her head bowed, and all the stars did likewise.  Hector wasn’t looking, but he knew as soon as He entered.  There was a tremor in the air, a spirit so strong and pure Hector nearly forgot his dancing dilemma.

“Rise, stars of the heavens,” a strong yet also soft voice filled the air, “and let whoever is first come forward and tell me why he should be mine.”

Hector and the other stars stood up.  Hector looked on the Son of God for the first time, and he felt his heart fly.  Never had he felt such joy and peace.   Even if he had miraculously been the best dancing star in the sky, Hector was sure he couldn’t feel any happier than he did at that moment.

The first star performed his dance for the Lord.  Christ smiled and Hector almost thought He had already chosen.

“You are a wonderfully talented star,” He said kindly, “but you are not mine.”

And the next star came up.

Star after star danced for Jesus, and to each one He gave the same smile and the same answer.

“You are a talented star.  But you are not mine.”

As the line got shorter and shorter, Hector started to grow anxious.  Would he be forced to dance in front of the Lord Himself?  Just the thought of making a fool of himself in front of Jesus made Hector feel sick inside.

And then there was only one star in front of Hector.  Hector wished desperately for that star to be the one chosen, but no.  After the dance, there was the soft smile and the kind answer.

“You are a talented star.  But you are not mine.”

Hector found himself standing right in front of the Lord Himself.  He thought of his terrible dancing and felt ashamed.

“I’m not a wonderful star,” he blurted, “and I’m definitely not yours.  Please don’t make me dance.  Pick one of the others.  They’re all great dancers…”

“Hector,” said the Lord, and Hector grew silent, “come closer.”

Hector took one timid step forward, and the Messiah chuckled and held out His hand.

“Closer still, Hector,” He said, “I have a question for you.”

Hector gulped and walked up to the throne.  Jesus leaned forward and spoke softly in Hector’s ear.

“Tell me, Hector:  Did I ask for these stars to dance?”

Hector thought for a long time.

“No,” he answered finally, “You told them to tell you why they should be yours.”

Jesus smiled and nodded.

Tell me, Hector,” He said, “don’t dance for me.  What would a star have to do to be mine?”

“They would have to shine,” Hector said suddenly, not sure where his words were coming from but knowing they were right, “they would have to shine steadily over you, and they would have to be bright enough to show they way for others to come to you.”

Jesus smiled and put His hand on Hector’s shoulder.  The young star felt His warm touch and immediately felt perfectly at peace.

“You, Hector, are not only a wonderful star,” said Christ, “you are mine.  You will be the star that proclaims my arrival to the earth.  You will be the one to lead the shepherds and wise men to me.  You will be the star that children will tell stories and sing about many years from now.”

Hector couldn’t believe what his little star ears were hearing.  How could he, a star who couldn’t dance, ever hope to be the Lord’s star?

“There are some who don’t believe that I will come,” continued Jesus, “And I need you to appear and show them that they were wrong and bring them back to me.  Will you do that, Hector?  Will you shine for me?”

Hector nodded slowly, still dazed and a little confused.  The Lord smiled and stood back.

“This star is mine,” He said to the rest of the stars, “Hector is the only one of you who is able to shine brightly and steadily enough for all the world to see.  See him now?  He outshines you more than the moon or the sun.”

Hector felt all eyes on him, and looked down at himself.  He couldn’t believe it.  He was shining brightly, so much brighter than any other star there, even more so than the North Star!

“He will be the one to shine for me,” said Jesus Christ, “and he will be known as my star, the star that shone for me and showed all the world that with faith anyone can come to me.”

Hector stood up straight and proud for the first time in his life.  He beamed at the crowd, and there was thunderous applause.  Even the North Star was smiling at him, and Hector knew that before he had been wrong.  That moment, he was happier than he ever had been and ever would be.

“Be ready to shine in a few days, Hector,” said the Lord, and Hector nodded.

“Yes sir!”  He replied happily, and Jesus smiled at him gladly.

“You are a glorious star, Hector,” He said, “and you are mine.”

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I hope your Christmas is merry and very bright!

Torrence Nightingale

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