"Have you understood all these things?" Jesus asked.
"Yes," they replied.
"What do you want for Christmas, Sarah?" I ask my three-year-old daughter. We are planning to visit Santa the following day, and I'm making sure that she doesn't tell him anything I haven't heard first.
"I'm going to ask Santa for a pink baby doll," she states. I begin to hyperventilate.
"A pink baby doll? Why pink?" And, where in the world am I going to find a pink baby doll? What does she mean by that? What does a pink baby doll even look like?
"Because, pink is my favorite color."
Okay, now I'm thinking fast. Warding off encroaching panic.
"Honey, what if Santa doesn't have any pink dolls this year?"
"Oh, he'll have them," she responds confidently. "He has everything!"
But, this mom doesn't.
As promised, I take Sarah, along with brother, Daniel, to see Santa the next day. I have their wish lists firmly planted in my head, but the doll dilemma still haunts me. I decide that, instead of going home right after Santa, we should explore the mall. Just to see.
If pink baby dolls exist . . .
My children are delighted with this prospect, and happily hold my hands as we stroll toward a new toy store which has only been open for two months.
Standing at the entrance, I give them one admonishment. "Okay, Daniel, Sarah. You can look all you want, but don't touch."
"Okay, Mom," they say in unison.
And, in we go. Because I assume they clearly understand what I have said to them.
Look, but don't touch!
"Mama! Here she is! This is the pink doll I asked Santa for!"
I can't believe my ears! I whirl around to follow the direction Sarah's finger is pointing. I can't believe my eyes! Row upon row of the sweetest, most angelic, mostly pink rag doll one could ever hope to see. What are the odds of this happening? Right here? Right now?
"Thank you, Lord," I say under my breath. "Oh, thank you!"
"Mom! Come look at this for a minute!" It's Daniel calling from one aisle over. I say to Sarah, "Either come with me or stay right here and don't move. We'll be leaving the store in just a few minutes."
She decides to stay. To gaze with adoring eyes upon those precious, priceless pink baby rag dolls.
I hastily join Daniel to see what he has to show me while trying to keep an eye on Sarah at the same time.
But, sometimes, in a split second, it happens.
Those Mom-eyes-in-the-back-of-the-head cease to function.
For. A. Split. Second.
"Alright, it's time to get going, kids," I say as I dig in my purse for my keys. Daniel scoots toward the door with Sarah right on his heels.
Something bright pink flashes in my peripheral vision. Oh, no! She hasn't!
Tucked protectively under Sarah's arm is a pink baby doll. And, she's walking out of the store! Toddler shoplifts! News at 11!
With lightning speed, I grab her arm.
"Sarah! Didn't you understand when I told you not to touch anything? Honey, you can't walk out of a store with something without paying for it. We have to take the doll back this instant."
"But, Santa said I could have one," she says, tears welling as she looks with loving longing at her coveted doll.
"Yes, but he has to be the one to bring it to you. He didn't mean for you to take it yourself."
Click! The light bulb goes on. "Really, Mom? Really? Will Santa bring her back to me?"
"Yes, yes, Sarah, I promise he will. But, only if we take her back now."
Cheered by this prospect, Sarah willingly returns the doll to her shelf as I explain to sympathetic, understanding clerks the circumstances behind the pilfering.
And, I return the following day to purchase that pink baby doll for my baby doll, delighted to make her Christmas dream come true.
Was there a time you thought you understood a situation only to find out you didn't?
Will you pray with me?
Sometimes, Father, we think we understand the right thing to do or the right direction to take, when we haven't asked for Your discernment and advice. May we always go to You in prayer for guidance and assurance. Please lead us to do Your will and walk in Your ways each and every day. Amen.