We’re two weeks into the schedule for Say Nicklaus, and I’m already dreading it ending. It seems like time is a runaway train at this time of the year anyway, but with such a wonderful show going on, knowing that it’s going to be over before we can turn around, it just seems to blaze by even faster.
A couple of years ago I was browsing through the local Barnes & Noble, doing a little Christmas shopping. Our gang reads a lot, so that’s always a favorite place to shop. I was looking at the array of Christmas books on the shelves there, when it occurred to me that I had a wonderful Christmas story that belonged among them. I decided, there and then, that I would adapt Say Nicklaus into a book. It took longer than I expected, but it’s finally done.
The book is Say Nicklaase, A Great & Wonderful Christmas Story. I changed the spelling to avoid confusion with the musical, and I just like the new spelling better. Nicklaase and Meena Elliffe live in mythical Norpol Province, which is foreign-sounding, right? I thought the spelling needed to be a bit unusual too. The story is essentially the same one we tell in the musical, but you get a chance to know just a little more about the Elliffes, Cornelius and Ula, and the children. I wanted it to be a little book that could be read aloud easily, so I intentionally kept it short. It’s just a little over one hundred pages, and I am very happy with the way it turned out.
The seed of the story of these children goes back a few years. On the surface it is a story about why our family Christmas traditions deserve to be cherished, and the Lord weaving bad things together to heal a sad and unfulfilled life. But beneath that, there is a truth that came from knowing and observing some children that our own kids went to school with, and grew up knowing.
Our kids attended school with residents of two different children’s homes. Those children were seemingly indistinguishable from other students at school, but there was general knowledge of which ones were “the children’s home kids.” That distinction was the least of their personal burdens. We never had a reason to know about their individual situations that resulted in their placement in the facility. But it always struck me that they were all saddled with an identity that was defined by their circumstances, and they of all people so needed to know who they were in Christ. They, more than anyone, needed to know that they were loved, accepted, approved, and wanted.
That is what I hoped to convey in writing Say Nicklaus the musical, and the little book it inspired. The wonderful cast we have this year does an amazing job of bringing the story to life. Why don’t you make plans to bring the whole family? I promise everyone will love it. We have shows going on now, every Saturday at 3:00, except Thanksgiving weekend, and also every Sunday at 3:00 in December, ending on the 17th.
So as Paul Harvey used to say, “Now you know…the rest of the story.”