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Simple Joy

Eight-year-old Sandra slowly opened her eyes and gave a sleepy yawn. She rolled over in her bed and was about to fall back asleep when she suddenly remembered what day it was: Christmas! Blankets went flying across the floor as she leaped out of bed and rushed into the kitchen. Her mother, Michelle, was already up preparing a delicious breakfast.

“Good morning, Mom! Merry Christmas!”

“Merry Christmas, Sandra! Breakfast is almost ready! Why don’t you go look out the window, I think you’ll see a nice surprise.” Michelle answered with a smile.

Sandra ran over to the window and pressed her face against the glass. She gave a little squeal of delight as she saw the fresh blanket of snow on the ground. Large flakes were lazily falling to the ground. Shimmering icicles hung from the roof.

“It’s beautiful! I want to go outside and play in the snow!”

“Hold on. You have to eat breakfast first. Why don’t you go wake up Dad while I finish setting the table.”

After five minutes of tugging and pulling, Sandra finally got her father, Samuel, out of bed. As they sat at the table to eat, she could hardly keep still. She wanted to go play out in the snow! After Samuel prayed, Sandra ate as fast as she could. Before she finished chewing her last bite, she hopped off her chair and ran into her room to change into some warm clothes.

“Come on, Mom and Dad! Let’s go play in the snow!”

“You go ahead. We’ll be out in a couple of minutes,” replied Samuel.

Sandra slammed the door behind her as she ran into the snow. Barely feeling the bitter cold, she stared up into the sky, watching all the flakes spiral around her. Giggling, she caught a big fluffy flake on her tongue. How she loved the snow! Gathering a bunch of the powdery snow, she quickly made a snowball and waited for her parents. As soon as her father opened the door, the snowball flew from her hand and smashed into his chest. Laughing, Sandra ran behind a tree as Samuel chased her. He scooped her up, causing her laughter to increase even more.

“Dad, lets go sledding! I want to go down the big hill with Mom!”

Michelle laughed. “Alright, but I can’t stay out too long. I have to make sure everything is ready for when the family comes over.”

Samuel grabbed the sled from the shed, then followed them up a good-sized hill. He held the sled steady while Michelle and Sandra climbed in.

“Give us a great big push!” said Sandra, her voiced filled with excitement.

“No, no, not too big. It’s a steep hill,” replied Michelle.

“Oh, stop being so scared. It’s not that bad.” Then with a mischievous grin, Samuel shoved them down the hill. Faster and faster, the sled went.

“Wheeee!” yelled Sandra, as she leaned over to drag her hand through the snow.

“No! Don’t do that!” cried Michelle, but it was too late. The sudden shift of weight caused the sled to unbalance and flip, sending its passengers hurling into the snow. A loud burst of laughter came from the top the hill.

Wiping the snow off her face, Michelle glared at her husband, who was laughing so hard that he could barely keep standing. She whispered into Sandra’s ear, then both of them stomped through the snow back up the hill. Marching right up to her husband, she put on a sweet smile. Samuel stopped laughing and stared back, feeling that something was up. Suddenly, Michelle gave a big shove, sending him falling into the snow. Before he could react, she dumped an armful of snow onto him.

“Hey! What’s the idea?” Samuel asked as he sat up, only to be met with a snowball to the face from Sandra.

“There,” Michelle said sweetly. “Now we’re even.”

Samuel glared, then burst out laughing again.

“Ok, ok, we’re even!”

“Dad! Mom! Let’s make a snowman!” Sandra said excitedly as she started rolling up a ball of snow.

“I’d love too, but I better get back into the house,” replied Michelle. “Your grandparents should be here within a couple hours, and I have to make sure everything is ready.”

“Well, you help then, Dad!”

“Ok, ok, we’ll make a quick small one,” replied Samuel, then turned to his wife. “We’ll be inside in a little bit to help.”

Over the next half hour, Samuel helped his daughter build the snowman, pausing only a few times for a snowball fight. When it was finished, snowman stood as tall as Sandra. They used round rocks for eyes and large forked sticks for hands. Its nose was a bright orange carrot.

“It looks amazing!” squealed Sandra, dancing around her creation. “Thank you, Dad, for helping.”

“Why don’t we go inside and see if Mom needs any help. I’m sure she does.”

“I’ll race you inside!” challenged Sandra, before tromping through the snow as fast as her short legs could manage.

Grinning, Samuel gave chase. As he ran after her, he thought about what a joy his daughter was. Always cheerful, never frowning. Her enthusiasm spread like wildfire to all those that saw her. Watching her play in the snow and enjoy the simple things made him temporarily forget about the trials and struggles of life. If Sandra could be delighted with such a little thing as snow, surely he could be thankful for the many blessing God had given him.

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