• A Pretty Package - 12/28/2013

    Joanna bounced into the kitchen with a list of girls she wanted to invite to her birthday party. Mom glanced at the names. "I don't see Melanie's name," she said. "You've always been such good friends." "No, but I . . . ah . . . she's kind of plain," said Joanna. "Nobody invites her." Mom frowned....

  • The Domino Effect - 12/27/2013

    Jeff watched in horror as his little sister reached for the pattern of dominoes he had spent the last two hours setting up. "Molly!" he hollered as he ran toward her. "Don't touch those!" But it was too late. Molly pushed the first domino and they all quickly tumbled down. Molly giggled, clapping...

  • Disappointments - 12/26/2013

    "But we had everything planned! We were ready to go," wailed LoriAnn. She shoved her suitcase into her closet as she fought back the tears that stung her eyes. "I'm sorry, honey," said Mom comfortingly, "but it can't be helped. The Miller family is facing a very hard time, and they need their pastor...

  • The Real Gift - 12/25/2013

    Emmy wriggled off her mother's lap and toddled toward the brightly wrapped presents under the Christmas tree. "Hold it, little girl!" Mom scooped her up and brought her back to the couch. "Grandpa's going to read us a story." Grandpa began to read the familiar story of the birth of Jesus. Emmy's...

  • The Best for Father - 12/24/2013

    "Come on, Angie," Lanita said as she studied the Christmas list in her hand. "We've still got gifts to buy before we meet Mom by the Christmas tree with all those doves on it. We have to be there in an hour. C'mon." "Coming," Angie replied as she pulled her attention away from a man demonstrating...

  • Quiz Out of Season - 12/23/2013

    "Today we're going to start out with something different," Mr. Prescott told his Sunday school class. "I'm going to give you a little quiz." The kids groaned. "Don't look at your paper until I say you may," added Mr. Prescott with a smile. He walked around the table and placed a sheet of paper and...

  • Same Old Story - 12/22/2013

    "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields," Abi's Sunday school teacher read from the second chapter of Luke, "keeping watch over their flock . . ." Mrs. Peters' voice started to fade away as Abi daydreamed about the new bike she expected to get for Christmas. I can hardly...

  • Clean Up! - 12/21/2013

    Daryl slouched on the stool in the laundry room. "I wish Landon would just keep quiet if he can't talk without swearing," he muttered. Mom glanced at Daryl as she pushed the last clothes from the hamper into the washer. "Has he been having problems with that again?" she asked. Daryl nodded, and his...

  • Good Servants - 12/20/2013

    "A meatloaf sandwich for me!" Tory announced as he set down his menu. "With extra ketchup! Okay, Dad?" Dad smiled and nodded. A smiling young lady approached the table. "My name is Karen," she said, "and I'll be your waitress tonight. Iheard one meatloaf sandwich." She smiled at Tory. "Is everyone...

  • Mid-Flight Refueling - 12/19/2013

    "Can we please skip family devotions tonight?" Anson asked after supper. "My friends are all over at the park. They said they'd wait for me before starting a ball game." He was pretty sure his mom and dad wouldn't agree to his request, so he had thought of something he considered a good reason for...

  • Needed Imprint - 12/18/2013

    Seth wiped the back of his hand across his damp forehead. "This is awesome, Celina!" he called to his sister. "We got lots of cans today!" The children, who lived in a resort town, collected soda cans and bottles that had been discarded by tourists. They turned them in for money at the local supermarket. At...

  • Two Davids - 12/17/2013

    David was bored. His friends were at church camp but he had the flu and couldn't go this year. Now he was feeling better and seriously B-O-R-E-D! "Watch Dora the Explorer with me," his little sister Emily begged. "Please!" "Okay, Emily, one episode. But you have to promise you won't tell anybody....

  • Made to Be Used - 12/16/2013

    "I've got it!" called Audra, hurrying to answer the phone. Mr. Bell, the music director from Audra's church was calling. "Audra," he said, "you did a nice job on the solo lines with the junior choir yesterday. How about singing a solo at the church Christmas program this year? I have a song that...

  • A Famous Author - 12/15/2013

    "Oh, Avery," squealed Cathy, "do you remember the book Miss Clemens read to our class a few weeks ago--the one about an orange elephant?" Avery nodded. "Sure, that was a really funny book!" she said. "Well, guess who's coming to my house for dinner tonight?" said Cathy, bouncing up and down on her...

  • Here Comes the Sun (Cont’d.) - 12/14/2013

    Paul grinned as he took the hose and began to give the garden a gentle spray of water. "This will help the seeds sprout," he said confidently. "Yeah. I can't wait till the plants get big and we can eat the stuff we planted!" exclaimed Grace. "Last year we had the best radishes and carrots and beans...

  • Here Comes the Sun (Cont’d.) - 12/13/2013

    "In science, we learned that the sun is a bright star," said Paul, pulling the hose over to water the garden. "It's at the center of our solar system." As he spoke, the clouds parted and the sun shone through. "Look, Grandpa!" exclaimed Grace. "Here comes the sun!" Grandpa glanced around the garden....

  • Here Comes the Sun - 12/12/2013

    Paul knelt in the soft dirt, breaking up big chunks with his gloved hands. "Grandpa," he said as he looked toward the side of the garden where his grandfather was putting out seed packets, "my Sunday school teacher says God is a Trinity--that there's God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit,...

  • Why So Snappy? - 12/11/2013

    "That Trina is so mean lately!" Noelle exclaimed as she slammed the kitchen door behind her "She's been so rude to me all week!" A tear slipped down her cheek as she slumped into a chair. "That's too bad," sympathized Mom, "but try to remember that God wants us to be patient with each other. Trina's...

  • The Right Way to Say No - 12/10/2013

    "Miss Clark gave me the part of the devil in our class play," Tony told his parents as the family sat around the dinner table one evening, "but I really don't want to do it. I don't think God would like that, do you?" "No," said Mom, passing the casserole dish. "Did you tell her how you feel?" "I...

  • No Off-Duty Christians - 12/09/2013

    "Look, Laura. There's Mr. Roberts!" Max directed his sister's attention across the crowded stadium to a man who was walking down one of the aisles. "Dad, Mr. Roberts is a policeman, so why isn't he wearing his uniform?" Max asked. "Because he's off-duty," said Dad. "Off-duty?" asked Laura. "What...