Sarah stood at the stove, stirring the sugary syrup she’d use to pour over the bowl of popped corn waiting on the table. Her mind was racing in a hundred directions. She still needed to finish the dolls she was making for the girls, she’d promised to make her famous Ginger Crinkles cookies, and Matthew’s new shirt needed to be sewn. A stack of Christmas cards arrived in the mail that morning, and she still hadn’t found time to reply to the ones that came yesterday.

Just as she moved the hot liquid to the back of the stove, Emily and Hailey came barreling in from outside. The dark-haired twins wasted no time in throwing their mittens and bonnets on the table, knocking the bowl of popcorn to the floor.

“Girls! Look what you’ve done. I spent all morning popping that corn.”

Her tone was an octave higher than she usually used with her six-year-old daughters and their faces showed their shock.

“Sorry. We’re so excited to tell you what happened in school today!”

Both girls dropped to the floor to clean up the spill, and Sarah knelt to help. Emily grabbed a handful of popcorn, stuffed it in her mouth, and spoke in a muffled tone, “Rebecca and Samantha have the chicken-pox. Taking a second to swallow, she continued, Hailey and I get to be the angels in the Christmas program next week.”

Hailey pulled the bowl closer and used both hands to pick up a mountain of white kernels. “Miss Mary said if we can memorize all of our lines by Monday, she’ll give us a candy cane and let us help her decorate for the program.”

The excitement in the girls’ voices softened Sarah’s frustration as she sat on her heels to listen more intently. “I’d say a candy cane would be a good incentive to practice hard this weekend.”

Emily crossed her legs and rested her chin in her hands, and longingly said, “I just love Christmas.”

“Me too,” Hailey said, copying her schwesters posture.

Emily nibbled on another kernel.” We get to wear white robes and tell the shepherds of baby Jesus’ birth.”

Sarah pulled the girls close and kissed the top of their heads as they continued to share their enthusiasm. Suddenly the list she stressed about all morning meant nothing, as she marveled at their Christmas delight. It’s precisely the reminder she needed about the childlike faith Jesus calls us to have.

2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:2-4

Photo by Jim Fisher