It was still dark out when David woke up. Being Christmas morning he couldn’t wait to rip open his stocking to find what Santa left him. But the rule was, no opening presents, no looking inside the stocking, no peering under the tree until after church.
But David wasn’t tired. He lay in bed staring at the street light just outside of his window, wishing the numbers on his clock radio would tick by faster so he could see what he was getting for Christmas.
David couldn’t wait anymore. He slipped off his covers, put his feet down on the cold floor and crept out of his bedroom, tiptoeing over his dog Daisy so not to wake her, and slinked down the stairs stopping at each creek in the floor.
It was so dark David couldn’t see, so he walked with his hands stretched in front of face so he wouldn’t bump into anything. David found the reading lamp that was on the coffee table and turned it on. He lightly removed the stocking from the fireplace and saw that there was a note resting on top that read: “It’s too early, David. Go back to bed. Love, Mom and Dad.”
David decided that there were probably more traps hidden inside the stocking, so he figured that it was best that he obey the note. As David turned the light off his foot bumped the coffee table just hard enough to knock over the Homer Simpson Santa doll parked on top. The Homer doll began to sing [press button] which woke up Daisy who began to bark, who woke up mom and dad and David’s little sister Marsha.
All at once, lights were on all over the house and David’s mom and dad were standing in front of him. Marsha was wiping her eyes as she made her way down the stairs. Daisy sniffed the Homer’s Santa suit.
David was caught.
“We knew you couldn’t wait until after church,” dad said not knowing to laugh or yell. “But now that we’re all up I’ll start cooking breakfast.”
“But I’m tired and want to God back to bed,” David protested.
“But not tired enough to look in your stocking before it’s time,” David’s dad pointed out. “But why is it that I have to nag you to get out of bed for church each Sunday, but you’ll get up early when presents are involved?”
“Does he really want me to answer that?” David asked himself. It sounded like one of those questions that parents ask just to make you feel guilty. David remained silent. And a little annoyed.
Finally, church was over. David was the first one out of church and he waited what seemed like forever for his mom, dad, and little sister to come out.
“David, we’re just going to make a quick stop on the way home today.” Dad said getting in to the car.
“Where?” David asked.
“You’ll see,” replied his dad.
Their car pulled up at the Eldercare home. “What are we doing here” David asked.
When they arrived inside other people from church were waiting. Together there must have been 15 church folks. The group made their way to the cafeteria and began to sing.
A crowd of wheelchairs and walkers encircled around the group. At the front of the line was Mrs. Grey. She taught David’s dad Sunday school when he was David’s age. Mrs. Grey grabbed David’s hand and held it tightly with both of hers. When David looked down Mrs. Grey’s face beaming with delight. “Thank you for coming! Merry Christmas!” she kept saying over and over again.
That night, as they were getting ready to say their prayers, David said to his dad. “Boy, Mrs. Grey sure was glad we came today. She couldn’t stop smiling all the time we were singing.”
“She doesn’t have any more family left,” dad replied. “So our church is her family.”
David sat for a moment remembering the songs they sang for Mrs. Grey and all the others who didn’t have a family, thinking how the angels brought the good news in song as well. He thought that he could be in worse company.
Then they said a prayer like this as we do now: Dear God. Thank you for giving us Jesus, and thank you for opportunities to share his message of love. Amen.