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Cyber Walk
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Golden Apples
Heaven Bound
Just Between Men
Take it to Heart
Teen Truth
The Parents'
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The Treehouse
'Tis the Season
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Carla and the Case of Christmas Craving
Glenn A. Hascall

"This is so utterbly silly," Carla said sadly. She gazed at the Christmas present with her name on it as baby Amy threw her pacifier from the ever clicking baby swing.

"What does ubberly mean, Carla?" her brother Ty asked.

"Utterbly is a word that is too hard for four-year-olds to understand," Carla said in her best grown-up voice.

"You donít know, do you, Carla?"

"Of course, I do. After all, I am seven years old, Ty," Carla responded with an upturned nose.

"Well then, what is so silly?"

"Itís just silly that Mom wonít tell me what she got me for Christmas," Carla said with one eye squinted as she tried to peer past the folds holding her present together.

"Arenít you buísposed to wait until Christmas?" Ty continued his questions as Amy giggled and tossed her teething ring to the floor.

"That's the rule. But it would be so horrible if Mom got me something I already have."

"Why would she do that?"

"Maybe she forgot," Carla snapped.

"Not mommy, she remembers everything."

"I suppose youíre right," Carla sighed. "Itís just not fair, though. If itís my gift, I should be able to know what it is."

"Which one is mine, Carla?"

The little girl looked under the tree until she found a box with the letters T-Y. "Here, this one is yours."

"Oh, this looks nice," Ty seemed eager as Amy handed him the present.

"What do you think is in it?"

"Donít know."

"Donícha wanna know?" asked Carla.

"Yes!" Ty said as he placed the present back under the tree.

"See, Ty, itís unfair that we have to wait until Christmas, isnít it?"

"Nope," Ty replied thoughtfully.

Carla couldnít believe what she had heard. "Why not?"

Amy started whimpering. Ty got up, went over to her swing, picked up her pacifier and teether, and put them on the swing's tray. "Well," he said at last, "it's mine but I just can't have it yet."

"It has your name on it. Of course itís yours," Carla said. "What part of 'yoursí don't you understand?"

"I know my name is on it, Carla, but I can't open it yet," Ty replied. "Itís not mine to hold till Christmas."

"So why donít you wanna look inside?"

"I get to think about my gift every day until Christmas. I get to think about the toys I want Ė maybe one of them is inside," Ty said as he pointed to his package wrapped in paper that showed snowmen in happy moments.

"Well I want to know NOW!" Carla nearly shouted.

Amy began to cry, and Dad and Mom came into the room.

Mom picked up Amy. "Shhh, it'll be O.K. Amy," she said quietly.

Carla looked nervous. She hadnít wanted her parents to come into the family room. Now she couldnít hold her present, imagining what was inside.

"Why were you yelling, Carla?" Dad asked quietly as Mom rocked little Amy.

Before Carla could respond, Ty spoke up, "She really wants to know whatís inside her Christmas package."

"TY!" Carla said in a loud whisper.

"Well, thatís what you said."

"You know how little boys are," Carla tried to sound grown up, but didnít do a very good job. "Theyíre always making things up."

"Are you saying that Ty is lying?" Mom asked in concern.

Carlaís face turned red and she tried to think of something to say.

"She said that it was ubberly silly that you wouldnít let her open her Christmas present," Ty said without anger.

"I did not!"

"Did too."

"O.K. you two, thatís enough," Mom said. Carla had seen that look Mom was giving and she knew it was time to be quiet.

"So, you want to open your Christmas present right now?" Dad asked.

"Itís just thatÖ" Carla suddenly realized how silly she sounded.

"Well, I guess itís O.K. Go ahead and open it," Dad said with a special wink at Mom.

"What!?" Carla replied in wide-eyed wonder.

"Sure, go right ahead," Mom replied as Carla held her gift ready to pluck the bow from the top of a snowmanís head.

"Of course if you do, there wonít be any more presents on Christmas day," Dad added.

Carla stopped and thought carefully about what was being said, "No more presents?"

"Thatís right," Mom replied as she laid a sleeping Amy in her playpen.

"Thatís not fair," Carla felt as if she were going to cry.

"Iím sorry, but thatís the only gift we have for you right now, Carla," Mom said sadly.

"Did you know that Christmas is a lot like heaven?" Dad asked.

"Really?" Ty said in awe.

"Really," Dad replied. "Sometimes we want all the good stuff of heaven right now. We want people to notice when we do something nice Ė we donít want to wait for God to tell us what a good job we did when we get to heaven."

"What does that have to do with Christmas presents?" Carla was still upset.

"If you open your Christmas present early, you wonít be able to enjoy opening gifts on Christmas morning when everyone else does." Mom responded. "Oh sure, you might be able to open your present right now, but you will probably be sad on Christmas morning when you can only watch when the rest of us open our gifts."

"Why does it have to be so hard to wait?" Ty asked.

"Probably because when we see something we like or feel as if we deserve something, we want it right now," Dad replied.

"Like when we go the store and there are toys that you want," Mom explained.

"Or candy!" Ty said rubbing his hands together.

"Or a new car," Dad said.

"Or a new outfit," Mom added.

"You see, Carla, sometimes we have to wait for things to really be thankful for them." Dad said.

"If we got everything we want at the very moment we wanted them we would probably not like them or care for them as well as we might if we had waited until it was really ours to have," Mom replied.

"So, I would probably like this better if I waited until Christmas morning?" Carla asked.

"Thereís only one way to know for sure," Dad smiled.

"See, Carla, the present is yours - you just gotta wait," Ty said.

Carla hated it when he was right.
Glenn Hascall is a twice-published author, avid amateur photographer and a happy Papa and Hubby. He is the Director of Christian Media, Inc, and in his spare time, he sleeps. To find out more about his ministries, visit www.kcmi.cc

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