Little Star | A sweet Christmas story from our archives

little girl looking at star

By Carmen Nina Walton

Julie saw Lucy’s face and knew at once that she hadn’t been picked to play Mary in the Nativity play.

“Please tell Mrs McCafferty that I wanted to be Mary,” Lucy sobbed as she hugged Julie’s waist. “Please?”

Julie’s heart sank. Once Mrs McCafferty had made up her mind up, it was final.

Julie guided her tearful daughter away, passing happier families whose children had been given leading parts.

“Will you tell her?” Lucy asked.

“I can’t do that.” Some baking would cheer Lucy up, Julie thought, walking briskly. “She’s made a decision and given those parts to people who are now looking forward to them. So, what part did you get?”

“I’m a star.” Lucy sighed in despair.

Julie thought quickly. How to convince her daughter that stars were brilliant?

“Teachers put stars on your work when it’s fantastic, so stars must be the best thing ever.” She smiled brightly.

“I want to be Mary.”

“Talented and famous people are called stars – so that’s good, isn’t it?”

Lucy had stopped crying and Julie hoped she’d have forgotten all about being Mary by the time they got home.

I want to be Mary

Daddy, can you ask Mrs McCafferty if I can be Mary?” Lucy was at the door when her dad returned from work. “She’s asked me to be a star but I don’t want to be a star.”

“But you are a star.” He picked her up and twirled her round. “You’re my star.”

“I want to be Mary. So will you tell Mrs McCafferty?”

“I wouldn’t like to tell Mrs McCafferty anything once she’s made her mind up.Just make the most of being a star.”

A subdued little girl went to bed that night leaving Julie remembering how she was never picked to be Mary, or the donkey, or one of the three Wise Men. She was always a cloud or a sheep – but she accepted it because she was shy.

Next morning, Lucy was up early.

“I’m going to talk to Mrs McCafferty about the play,” she declared. “I’ve never been Mary. I don’t think it’s fair.”

Julie sighed. Mrs McCafferty was firm but fair. She was funny and kind and when it came to producing Nativity plays, she knew what she was doing.

“Look.” Julie had a bright idea. “Give me ten minutes to convince you that being a star is the best thing in the world. Will you?”

Lucy’s a star in her own right

Julie waited nervously at the school gates later that day. She hoped her efforts to convince Lucy had worked. When Mrs McCafferty walked towards her with Lucy at her side, Julie’s heart fluttered.

“I’ve had an interesting day, Julie,” the teacher said in her stern but kind way. “Lucy’s told me wonderful things about stars. For example, every star we see in the night sky is so much bigger than the sun.” She looked kindly at Lucy. “And with four hundred billion stars in the galaxy and five hundred billion galaxies in the universe, it would be take a maths lesson to work out how many stars there are altogether.”

“Really?” Julie smiled.

“I’m so impressed with Lucy’s knowledge of stars that I’m letting her choose the Christmas film.”

Lucy beamed so brightly that she could have been mistaken for a star.

“That’s terrific.” Julie smiled gratefully.

“I’ve told Lucy that she’s a star in her own right for embracing all that’s wonderful about the stars in the sky, and being a star in my Nativity play.” Mrs McCafferty’s eyes twinkled. “She’s convinced other people with shy voices that it’s good to be a star too and saved me the usual heartache I experience the day after I’ve given the parts out.”

“That’s fantastic news.”

“Indeed. Now all I have to do is assure the little actors playing Mary and Joseph that they can be stars next year.”

As Julie walked home, she thought her success was good enough reason to bake. Cupcakes perhaps, Dad’s favourite… sprinkled with sugar stars.

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Karen Byrom

My coffee mug says "professional bookworm" which sums me up really! As commissioning fiction editor on the magazine, I love sharing my reading experience of the latest books, debut authors and more with you all, and would like to hear from you about your favourite books and authors! Email me