Christmas: Children's Sermons
Tonight, I would like to tell you a story about Wilbur.
Wilbur was one of the nicest boys that anyone ever knew. Wilbur was one of the kindest boys around. That is, at school, he shared his lunch, shared his candy and shared his cupcakes with all his friends. Wilbur was also the largest boy in is class. That is, Wilbur was taller than any other boy. He was also heavier than any other boy. Wilbur had bright red hair, bright orange-red hair. Wilbur also had bright red freckles that dotted his cheeks. Wilbur had the best smile in his whole class. His smile beamed brightly from ear to ear. Wilbur was such a happy and smiling person that everyone enjoyed him and wanted to play with him. At school recess, he would play with both girls and boys, and even though he was so big, Wilbur was not a bully. In fact, Wilbur was not mean at all, not one bit. He was as good natured a boy as you could get.
But, like all of us, Wilbur had a little problem. You see, Wilbur did not like the academic side of school too well. Wilbur couldn’t read very well and worse yet, Wilbur couldn’t remember very well either. Wilbur had a hard time remembering what the teacher had just said. It was so hard for Wilbur to remember that he had to repeat first grade. Being at least a year older than all the other students in first grade, he was the biggest boy in his class. He also was the nicest boy in his whole class.
It was Christmas time. It was the time of year when all the churches were going to have their Sunday School Christmas pageants. Wilbur had always wanted to have a speaking part in one of those Christmas plays but Wilbur never could remember enough to have a speaking part. Inevitably, Wilbur was always one of the shepherds who didn’t say anything but always wore sheep ears and carried shepherd staffs.
This particular year, Wilbur’s Sunday School teacher approached him and asked, “Wilbur, this year in the Christmas pageant, would you like to play the part of the innkeeper?”
Wilbur asked, “Me? Me, the innkeeper?”
“Yes, Wilbur,” replied his teacher. “You have only two lines you need to remember. All you have to remember is, when Joseph comes to the door of the inn and asks if there is room, all you have to say is: “There is no room in the inn. You’ll have to sleep in the barn.” “Wilbur, can you remember that?”
Wilbur repeated to the teacher what she had just said. “There is no room for you in the inn. You have to sleep in the barn.”
Wilbur went back to his desk and slowly said his lines to himself over and over again: “There…is …no…room…for…you…in…the…inn. … You … have … to … sleep… in … the…barn.” He then said his lines faster, “There …is … no … room …for…you … in the …inn. …You …have …to …sleep … in … the … barn.” And then Wilbur said his lines as fast as he could. “There is not room for you in the barn. You have to sleep in the barn.” O yes, he could learn those lines easily.
After school, Wilbur jumped on his bicycle and rode home as fast as he could. He burst into the kitchen and shouted at his mother, “There is no room for you in the inn. You have to sleep in the barn.” His mother sensed what was going on and she was very happy. Wilbur was so proud of himself.
A week quickly passed. The night for the Christmas pageant arrived. The church was jammed full, packed in, squished together, just like our sanctuary is full tonight.
It came that time for Wilbur to come out on the stage. As he did so, he looked at aaaallll those faces out in the congregation. It was like a sea of faces, so many people looking up at him on the stage. Wilbur was momentarily mesmerized by so many people sitting with their faces upturned to the front of the church. It was scary to see all those faces looking right at him, the innkeeper. Wilbur started to get a little nervous inside and even slightly afraid.
Then the story of Mary and Joseph started to unfold in the Christmas drama. As Wilbur saw Mary and Joseph coming down the central aisle of the sanctuary on their way to Bethlehem, Wilbur started to have big feelings for Mary and Joseph. Wilbur’s heart started to get even bigger. Wilbur thought to himself, “Mary looks so tired. She had been riding on that donkey all day long. Joseph also looks tired.” Wilbur’s heart started to feel so badly for Mary and Joseph as they came down that dusty road to his inn. How could he tell the pregnant Mary and husband Joseph that there was no room at his inn? How could he say something so unkind? So uncaring. Mary and Joseph came closer and closer to his inn. As they came closer and closer, Wilbur thought, “O no. What is my part? I can’t remember what I am to say.”
Joseph finally arrived at the front door of the inn. He knocked and said, “Innkeeper, do you have room for us in your inn? My wife, Mary, is going to have a baby. Real soon. Like tonight. Do you have a room for us in your inn?”
Wilbur was overwhelmed by the moment and by his feelings as he said, “There…there…there… is no room for you in the inner. You…you…you have to sleep in the barn. …But…but…but, you can have my room tonight, if you want.” (This last line is delivered enthusiastically. The congregation will laugh.)
And everybody laughed. Everyone laughed. And Wilbur felt so embarrassed. He felt that everyone was laughing at him. He felt so badly that his teacher would be disappointed in him that he messed up his lines. Wilbur knew in his heart that everyone was laughing athim. During the rest of the Christmas pageant, Wilbur’s eyes kept looking down at the floor. His head hung low.
After the play was all over and the congregation had finished singing, “Silent Night,” his Sunday School teacher rushed up to him and said, “Wilbur. You were the best player in the whole pageant. Why? Because you understood the meaning of Christmas more than anyone else here tonight. You were fabulous, Wilbur.”
Wilbur said, “Really?” His teacher said, “Really.”
Suddenly, all the kids from his class were crowding around Wilbur and were patting him on the back saying, “You were really good tonight, Wilbur.” “You got it right, Wilbur.” “You were awesome, Wilbur.” After hearing all his friends say such nice things, Wilbur started to feel proud of himself.
It came time that night when Wilbur needed to go to bed. Wilbur’s mother kissed him good night, told him how proud she was of him. She closed the door and it was dark in Wilbur’s room, except for the light streaming through the curtain windows. It was time for Wilbur to say his night prayers. Wilbur’s prayer was simple: “Jesus, I want you to stay here in my room with me tonight and every night for the rest of my life.” Amen.
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