It’s been a wild ride in the Sunday School Class that I call The LITTLES at Laws Mennonite Church. When December rolled around and it was time for Christmas, I was so behind in the curriculum that it wasn’t even Christmas in the lessons. There were numerous reasons for this — sickness, schedules that precluded a separate class for the children, and my deep desire to not “waste” any of the already purchased study aids and lesson plans.
But I cannot bear to not have a good celebration of the birth of our LORD, so I set about the first of December to write my own lesson plans, find crafts that were pertinent and to wing my way through. The thing I didn’t remember was that December 1st began the new quarter in our Menno Media’s SHINE series. So as December hurried to its end and the New Year loomed, I realized that I was without new material and that I needed to get stepping. So I did some thinking and praying and decided that I was going to start with Genesis 1 and tell stories from Genesis until March 1st when the new quarter would begin, replete with Easter appropriate stories and activities for my small fry.
And we’ve had a blast. I purchased some big beautiful pictures from friend Karen’s bookstore and looked online for child friendly crafts that were not copyright protected and set to work. We went through the story of Creation, the story of Adam and Eve and the fall of man. We covered the story of Cain and Abel and then the story of Noah and the flood. We touched briefly on the Tower of Babel and then marched Mr. Abraham right on out of Ur of the Chaldees to Canaan and talked about The Promise made. In today’s lesson, we were talking about the birth of Isaac, how it takes patience to wait for things to happen, and about how God keeps his promises. Children love to talk about babies and they love the idea of old people having babies.
“What would you think,” I asked Katie Burkholder this morning, “if your Great Grandpa Millard and Great Grandma Lura (Benner) had a baby?”
She paused to consider. “I would think,” she said carefully, “that THAT would be really funny!”
“And Charis,” I said, “What would you have thought if Grandma Yoder had had a baby?”
She laughed out loud. “That would have been really, REALLY funny!” she said. And giggled again at the thought of it.
“Why would that have been so funny?” I asked.
“Because they are so OLD!” was the chorus. (Nobody feel insulted, here. I’m regularly reminded by this group that I’m really old, too!)
And so I told them that Mr. Abraham was older than any of those people. He was a hundred years old! No one could think of anyone who was a hundred years old.
“Why do you think you don’t know anyone who is a hundred years old?” I said. They looked very thoughtful and then one of them said, “Maybe because they are already in Heaven?” And of course, that was a good answer.
And so we began the story of Isaac and how Abraham had to wait so long to get his little baby. “Have any of you had to wait a really long time for something you wanted?” I asked them. They were ready with the usual “My birthday,” and “Christmas.”
“Anything else?” I questioned. “Anything else that you had to wait really long to do and your thought you just couldn’t wait?
“Yes,” said Charis. “I had to wait and wait to be born! I really wanted to get out of there!”
“Me, too,” said Katie. “I had to wait so long, too. It was so long and I was uncomfortable! I wasn’t born until August Twelff and that was a long time!”
“Grandma Yoder was so lucky,” chimed in Charis, getting tuned in to that thought. “Her birthday was on the first day of January. The rest of us have to wait way longer in the year for our birthdays to get here!”
Yes, well. Now you know.
Back to the subject of Isaac we went and we had some projects to complete and the story to finish. My LITTLES did so well, catching on quickly to why his name was “Laughter” (after first thinking that it was because he was a happy baby and laughed a lot). They helped to make an instant pudding snack while we talked about how hard it is to wait for something to happen. The vanilla pudding was divvied up into four containers with lids and they worked on other projects while we waited for the pudding to firm up.
The bell rang before we were ready, just like it usually does, and there was a mad scramble for the coloring papers and projects and snack bags and out the door the four of them tumbled on their way back downstairs to their parents. I looked around the room, all in disarray with crayons and markers and glue sticks and cutouts and stars and snack remnants all lying askew about. It made this Delaware Grammy smile, and I heard “Isaac” lingering in the corners and all around the cheerful, well equipped classroom.
This Delaware Grammy, short on grandbabies, and at an age when most gals have enough little ones in their lives, finds it to be soul satisfying to have these precious four LITTLES each week, entrusted to my care, to learn to know their hearts, their individual personalities, to hear their observations and to listen in on their thought processes. Each of them fills a different spot in my heart, and they and their families and especially their parents often find their way into my prayers. Such a happy privilege is mine!
Thank God for the laughter!