Esther’s parents dropped her and her brother James off at her grandma’s and grandpa’s while they went away for the weekend skiing.
Esther and her brother James loved going to visit grandma and grandpa. Their house was tucked away the middle of a small forest with big trees looming over the roof, providing shade in the summer and comfort in the winter; for the naked branches of the tree looked like arms hugging their little house.
James liked to roam about in the woods outside, but Esther preferred to stay inside and explore the vast treasure-house of old things that grandma and grandpa kept in their attic.
Esther opened a box labeled “pictures” and pulled the pictures out and laid them on her lap. They were pictures from long long ago; from before her mom and dad were born. Everyone was all dressed up. The men had slicked back hair and the women were wearing fancy white dresses.
Just then James came up the ladder that led to the attic.
“What’ya looking at?” asked James.
“Just some old pictures,” replied Esther.
“Of who?” asked James.
“I don’t know,” replied Esther, “This one looks like grandma and grandpa, and this one looks like Uncle John. But they all look so different.”
James came closer and looked at the pictures over his sister’s shoulder.
“That’s not them,” said James “Grandma and Grandpa have white hair.”
“But not back then, silly,” replied Esther. “It does look like them, but then again, it doesn’t. I wonder who it is.”
“Also, when was the last time you saw grandpa wearing a tie?” asked James.
That night, as Grandma and Grandpa were tucking Esther and James into bed and to say their prayers, Grandma asked,
“Did you find anything interesting in those old boxes?”
“Just some old pictures,” replied Esther, “but we didn’t know who they were.”
Esther pulled out a picture that she had slipped under her pillow.
Grandma looked at the picture and laughed.
“What’s so funny, grandma?” asked Esther.
“Why that’s your grandpa and me at your Uncle John’s wedding.” Grandma replied, “That feels like it was a thousand years ago, and only yesterday.”
“But that doesn’t look like you. Where’s your white hair?” asked James.
“Grandma and grandpa didn’t always have white hair,” replied Grandpa. “We earned each one of them.”
“I guess it’s like in the bible story at church where Jesus was hard to recognize because he looked so shiny and new,” said Esther, “He wore brand new clothes and his hair seemed to shine like the sun. Our Sunday school teacher said that was the beginning of Jesus’ real work. He looked nice for a day, and then he went off to Jerusalem where he was crucified, and then his work was finished. So, like you and grandpa, who looked nice that day, spent your life together and built this house and the family business, and then your work was finished.”
“Yeah,” said grandpa smiling, “I guess it is like that.”
Then they said a prayer like this as we do now: Dear God, help us to finish the work you have for us. Amen.”