By THE REV. SANDRA BALL
Special to the OBSERVER
This article was originally published in the OBSERVER on Dec. 23, 2000. Joshua Johnson graduated from high school in 2011 and is now the youth leader at Fellowship Church in Brocton.
About two weeks ago, Joshua Johnson (my 8-year-old grandson), came home from school and said, "Grandma, I got in trouble in school today."
He went on to say that it was because he would not take his mittens off in school when he was asked to do so by the teacher. When I asked why he would not, he said, "Because I was sneezing a lot." As I tried to connect the reason given to the deed, I remembered that Josh had a fetish about germs, washing his hands more often than his sister Cassie. Mulling this over, I finally said, "Well Josh, maybe you should not watch any TV today, and I think I'll also write Santa a letter, and tell him that you are not listening to your teacher."
Josh said, "Grandma, take the TV and computer away from now until Christmas, but don't send a letter to Santa." Thinking that I had definitely found an appropriate motivation for good behavior, I further pursued the dialogue. "Why don't you want me to write to Santa? I think he should know what is happening in school."
Josh's reply was not at all what I expected. "I'm not sure that I really believe in Santa, grandma, and besides the presents aren't the really important thing. As long as our whole family is together to celebrate Christmas does it really matter if there are not presents?"
For a moment, I just stood there looking at him. Who was the corrector and who was the corrected? His eyes were steady, and I knew he meant every word. He continued, "Maybe we should call my prayer partner at church (Darlene) and ask her to pray that God will help me to remember to listen to the big people in my life." As we ended the discussion, I decided to call my own prayer partner (Rick) and ask him to pray that I remember to count my blessings as our whole family gathers together on Christmas to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the baby born to be King.