In past years one of my favorite things to do was to write a Christmas poem or story, some that have been graciously published. One of my favorites was published in The Lutheran Witness a couple of years ago. It was about my little mentally challenged Sunday school student, Theresa, who tore everything she touched. She tore not only her lesson paper but even the paper on her crayons causing many supposedly black puppy dogs or cows to turn out a surprising purple. At snack time Theresa even tore her paper cup, drizzling colorful (and sticky!) Kool Aid everywhere.
We were doing the Christmas story in flannel graph and each child was to put a beautiful and beloved pastel character on the flannel board. I couldn't help but wonder what I’d do about Theresa. Before long however, I was caught up in this lesson of God’s love, and in the joy of the children as they slapped each picture up with exuberance. But all too soon we were to the most wonderful picture of all, the baby Jesus – and to the last child – Theresa.
I held the fragile picture of the little pink Baby in my hand, imagining the children’s hurt cries if Theresa should tear it. Before I could change my mind, I thrust it towards her. Slowly, wide-eyed with wonder, Theresa took the picture of the Baby. She gently touched Him with her tiny finger. Then she began fingering the edges of the soft velour picture. I knew what would come next: the tearing.
But Theresa drew the baby Jesus to her lips and kissed Him. Then she patted Him gently in place on the flannel-board. I knew I’d witnessed a little Christmas miracle. And since then, I've often been inspired by some child’s simple faith. Like last year during our church Candlelight Service. When the first candles were lit a tiny 2-year-old boy in the congregation burst out singing, “Happy birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. Happy Birthday Dear Jesus, Happy Birthday to you.”
This Christmastime may we join him, and other sweet children, in singing or saying: “Happy Birthday, Jesus!