“My daughter asked for a Polly Pocket So-Hip Cruise ship for Christmas in October.”
I stopped swimming and looked past the group of women, half of them bobbing up and down for their water aerobics class wearing Santa Claus hats, and zeroed in on the instructor. She was laughing about her daughter’s Christmas wish list as she walked back and forth directing the class from the ledge of the pool, decked in her red and white tousle cap.
“She had five things on her list,” she continued. “I picked up the Polly Pocket Cruise ship in October.” She grinned, “And she’s still asking for it now — I knew she wouldn’t change her mind! She twirled her rope whistle in her hand, “I told her she could ask for five things … that was the first one.”
The pool water seemed to settle as we all began listening more intently. “Second, she wanted a stuffed animal for her hamster. And third,” she paused raising her voice, “a pink tarantula!” The instructor stopped pacing and emphatically shrugged her shoulders, “I’ll never know where she came up with that one — or where to find one!”
We all laughed imagining a very hairy girl spider somewhere on another planet.
“Then, fourth she wanted peace and happiness for everybody,” the instructor straightened her posture, “and fifth… peace in the world.” She looked at us with the look only a mom could have when her child exceeds expectations.
Jesus said from the “overflow of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34), and her little heart was a giant blessing. The silent pool of listeners sang a stunning applause.
Just for a moment our hearts warmed up a few degrees before the ladies began following their proud instructor and I began swimming again. But now, my focus had shifted toward this eight year old’s wishes. They were beautiful. No wonder Jesus told the disciples, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”( Matthew 18:10)
She was asking her for a toy her single mom could afford. She wanted her hamster to have a stuffed animal so he could feel good too. We will never know what the pink tarantula was about. Fourth, she prayed for the gifts that really make Christmas special for anyone — that all people would have peace in their hearts and feel happiness. When I was her age and in public school, a loaded classroom would stomp our feet and clap our hands to “If you’re happy and you know it…” I wondered if she’s seen kids at school looking sad at the holidays? Or neighbors?
Finally she prayed for world peace. Does she see her mother’s concern watching the news at 5 p.m. over the war in Iraq? Does she know we just lost a young 20 year old soldier raised in our town and honored in our community paper? Just as her mother gushed with pride at her daughter’s Christmas list, I felt blessed to hear the beat of her heart.
Out of the abundance of her heart…
It is a stark contrast to a woman I overheard griping once at a nurse’s station about a gift her boyfriend had given her. He bought her a kitchen appliance when she wanted a trip to Jamaica, or maybe it was Venus.
“I broke up with him,” she snidely rolled her eyes. “If he doesn’t know what I want by now, I’m moving on.”
We all should be seeking to serve the Lord, and one another, with childlike faith — at Christmas time, and throughout the year. Let our prayer be…
God, may our words reflect the heart of a child to you. Thank You that You want to know what we want, and You go out of your way to make sure we will receive good things at the right time. Thank You for caring about our animals and their needs. Thank You that You don’t balk when we ask for things that defy nature because we know how all-powerful You are.
Mostly Lord, thank You that You know the greatest gifts are peace and hope for everyone around us, young and old. We pray remembering there are many hungry and homeless in our world. We never want to forget those in our military who guard over our nation throughout the world and even give their lives in hope for a world where we can live together in safety and peace. Lord heal our hearts as You hear our prayers.
Dee is an RN, freelance writer and coach. A native of Northern California, she enjoys the great outdoors with her happy dogs, a yellow lab and miniature schnauzer. She has volunteered with the Juvenile Justice Chaplaincy many years. Her first devotional & Bible study guide for women, “Lord of the Ringless,” was out in summer 2008. Read Dee’s blog: Scribblings