A golden gift behind title: The Perfect Gift

 

Have you ever received a gift from someone that you didn’t know you wanted, but when you received it, it fit a need or want wonderfully?

That was my experience recently.

One morning last week, I glanced outside. I needed to drop some Christmas cards in the mail.

I checked the weather app on my phone. -17C with wind chill making it feel like -21C. That’s cold.

Despite the fact that the mailbox was not far away, I bundled up carefully. An extra sweater under my winter jacket, two layers of gloves, a neck warmer and a toque (or beanie for those of you not from Canada). I pulled on my winter boots. That ought to do it.

I frowned, however, when I zipped up my winter jacket. I’d worn the same sweater beneath it just the week before, but this time the zipper felt tighter.

You see, I’m pregnant. My middle is quickly expanding and now pushing the limits of my winter jacket.

I shrugged it off and headed outside.

The fresh air greeted me and the sun was shining, though it did nothing to melt the snow on the sidewalk.

I strolled to the mailbox and back, enjoying the outing.

As I stepped back into the house, I felt reluctant to leave the freshness of the outside world. My layering had worked. I wasn’t cold yet.

I glanced at the snow shovel sitting near the doorway. There wasn’t a lot of snow, but the sidewalk could use some shovelling. My husband would gladly do it, but he wouldn’t be off work until after dark and it would be colder then.

Deciding to go for it, I picked up the shovel and got to work. I was careful to go slow and not do much lifting as I cleared the sidewalk.

Not long afterwards, when I headed back inside, I smiled. How refreshing to have been outside and to have moved my muscles.

Later that day, when my husband got off work, I commented to him that I hoped my jacket would last the next week or two of colder weather, but wasn’t sure it would last much longer.

I figured that if I wore enough sweaters then I might be able to get by with having my winter jacket unzipped. Especially since we typically don’t have too many days that are so very cold. Alternatively, I could try buying a maternity winter jacket, but I wasn’t sold on the idea.

Anyways, that evening we visited with one of my sister-in-laws. As we prepared to part ways, she handed us some Christmas presents. The plan was to open them on Christmas day. However, she spoke up and insisted that I open mine before leaving.

I hesitated, but finally conceded.

When I opened the cutely decorated gift, I found a piece of fabric with zippers on it. Holding it up, I discovered it was a jacket insert.

Right away we tested it on my winter jacket. It fit well.

The insert attached to my jacket zipper on both sides, making the jacket bigger. Now I could continue to wear my jacket even as my middle grew larger.

I smiled. I had not thought to put anything like it on my Christmas wish list, yet it was exactly what I needed.

It was the perfect gift.

Gifts are on my mind a lot around Christmas time. I try to think of meaningful gifts others would appreciate. At the same time, my family asks me what I want, so I brainstorm a list of ideas.

There is a lot of shopping to do and sometimes coordinating to buy bigger gifts. Sometimes I think I’ve found the perfect gift for someone, other times I’m not so sure.

Then there are the many gifts that money can’t buy. The list of things to be grateful for is long. 

There are so many ways that God blesses us. Often we take them for granted and forget to say thanks.

Many of the gifts God gives us are similar to that perfect gift my sister-in-law gave me. It wasn’t something I had thought to ask for, but it met a need wonderfully and in the nick of time.

Around Christmas time, we often pause to remember the gift the Father gave us when He sent Jesus to be born on earth. Yet that gift would not matter much if it weren’t for what it led to.

It was when Jesus died on the cross and then rose again that God granted us the ultimate gift. It was a gift we didn’t know we needed, but He gave it to us at the perfect time.

The Bible tells us:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 ESV)

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23 ESV)

This Christmas, beyond all the other gifts the season may bring, I want to celebrate the gift the Father gave us in sending Jesus to come in the flesh. Beyond that, I want to remember the ultimate perfect gift He gave us by taking away the wages of sin which I deserve.

Because Jesus died on the cross and rose again, I can have fellowship with God. The barrier sin caused between us has been torn down. Praise the Lord for giving us such a perfect gift!

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)

Gingerbread man cookies in a mug

 

A while back, one of my coworkers was looking for an easy gingerbread man song to sing with her preschool class at Christmas. Her search led me to come up with my own simple gingerbread man song for the holidays. Now I’m sharing it with you.

*As this is an original song, please be sure to include my name as the songwriter any time you share this song.

The Gingerbread Man Song

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: Slippery Fish

(If you don’t know the Slippery Fish tune, I’ve included a link to it at the bottom of this page.)

 

Gingerbread man, gingerbread man,

You look sweet and tasty!

Gingerbread man, gingerbread man…

Yum, yum, yum…

Oh no! It’s been eaten by a cat!

 

Repeat the song with a different animal eating the gingerbread man.

Feel free to use just about any animal to eat the gingerbread man. Here is a list of ideas to get you started:

  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Horse
  • Fox
  • Goat
  • Owl
  • Bunny

 

I recommend using five gingerbread man visuals and then using a visual for each animal who is going to eat a gingerbread man.

If you don’t already have gingerbread man visuals, here’s a great free colouring sheet you could print and cut out to use:  http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/simple-gingerbread-man

Developmental Skills Practiced When Singing the Gingerbread Man Song

Counting:

If using five gingerbread men, you could start by counting how many gingerbread men you have. Sing through the song and have the “eaten” gingerbread man disappear. Then, before singing the song again, count the four gingerbread men that are left.

Depending on the developmental level and attention span of your children, you may want to use more or less gingerbread men.

Language:

The simple repetitive nature of this song helps children catch on and feel confident to sing along.

Using visuals of whatever “eats” the gingerbread man allows children to learn the names of the animals.

Social Skills:

Taking turns – try increasing the interaction with your children by letting each of them have a turn choosing which animal ate the gingerbread man.

 

Don’t know the Slippery Fish tune? Check out this video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aW3hNADgf-A

Looking for other original preschool songs by S. J. Little? Check out the links below.

The Flamingo Song

Baby Jesus, Welcome Lord

The Harvest Song

Hand holding nativity scene picturing Jesus, Mary, and Joseph

New Christmas Song for Preschoolers –

Looking for a new, easy, and Biblical Christmas song to sing with your preschoolers? Then you’re in the right place. While this tune is familiar, the words are new. I came up with them in late November 2020. You are welcome to use this song at your home, church, school, and/or childcare. When you do so, please include my name (S. J. Little) as the author so that you and those around you know where to come for more unique preschool ideas.

At Christmas time, we celebrate Jesus’ coming to earth. That’s why, in the first verse, we sing “Welcome Lord.” For the second two verses, it is the shepherds and the wise men who come and say “Welcome Lord.”

Baby Jesus, Welcome Lord

Words by: S. J. Little

Tune: “Are You Sleeping” aka “Frère Jacques”

 

Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,

Son of God, Son of God.

You were born to be King, You were born to be King,

Welcome Lord, Welcome Lord.

 

Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,

Angels praise, angels praise.

Shepherds run to Your side, shepherds run to Your side,

Welcome Lord, Welcome Lord.

 

Baby Jesus, baby Jesus,

Wise men come, wise men come.

Following the bright star, following the bright star.

Welcome Lord, Welcome Lord.

Actions

Baby Jesus – Pretend to rock an infant in your arms

Son of God – Point up

You were born to be King – Put an imaginary crown on your head

Welcome Lord – Use one hand to beckon towards self

 

Angels praise – Extend hands above your head and move them side to side

Shepherds run to Your side – Run in place

Wise men come – Pretend to ride a camel

Following the bright star – Shade eyes as though searching. With your other hand, point forward/up towards the star

I hope you and your children enjoy this brand new Christmas song that reminds us of the very first Christmas so long ago.

Merry Christmas!

Looking for another Christmas preschool song? Check out:
Packages sitting on doorstep

What a comfort that God never makes a mistake.

It’s that wonderful time of year again! Christmas day is coming.

The day we set aside to remember and celebrate the greatest gift in history: that God sent His Son for us.

For many of us, our Christmas traditions include the exchange of gifts. This is true for me.

This year, I completed a large portion of my Christmas shopping online.

I have had primarily good experiences with online shopping, so, while I know it comes with risks, I didn’t hesitate to use that method this time around.

I hunted online for the item I was seeking, and took my time studying various versions of it.

When I settled on the specific item I wanted, I put in my information and completed the purchase. It was a company I’d used before with good results, so I wasn’t worried.

I received a tracking number and the receipt. Then it was time to wait.

The evening before it was expected to arrive at my house, I decided to pull up the tracking number to see where the item was.

To my surprise and delight, the website informed me that my package had been delivered. I hurried to the door, looked outside, and sure enough, there was a package.

I opened the door, then hesitated. I had expected a smaller box.

I stooped, picking it up, but frowned. Shouldn’t the item I ordered be heavier?

As I carried the package into our family room, I read the name and address on it. It wasn’t my name, and it certainly was nothing like my address.

Still, the package had been delivered to my door, and my tracking number told me my package had been delivered that day.Person delivering package to someone

Perhaps the contents of the package were correct and they’d simply put the wrong label on it?

I decided to open the package. I slit the tape and carefully lifted the flaps… an air purifier? That was nothing whatsoever similar to the … Wait! I can’t tell you what I ordered since I’m posting this before Christmas day.

Right away I searched the company’s website for a phone number. I called to explain the mix-up. Thankfully the wait time wasn’t overly long.

The first lady I called couldn’t find my tracking number or even my order number anywhere in the system! My alarm was growing! It wasn’t a cheap item.

It took us a while to realize I’d called the American branch of the company rather than the Canadian one. They forwarded me to the Canadian branch where another lady took my call. When I explained the situation, she told me to wait a couple of days to see if my package showed up. If not, I was to try calling the delivery company. If they couldn’t find my package, then the company I ordered from would send the item again.

So I waited, with that air purifier sitting in its box waiting to see what its future would hold.

On the appointed day, I called the delivery company. I explained the situation.

The lady checked their system and found that my item said it’d been delivered. They even had a picture of my house to show exactly where the box had been left on my front step. Yet somehow they’d given me the wrong box. On top of that, their system said the air purifier I received was still in process of being shipped.

She promised to look into it more closely. If I didn’t hear back from her by the following day, I was to call the company I ordered from so that they could try sending the item to me again.

When I had not heard back from her the following day, I called the company I’d ordered from. They looked into the situation and willingly sent me the item again.

This time the package arrived on the appointed day. It was a smaller, but heavier box. The label had my name and my address on it.

I eagerly opened the box. It was the item I ordered, neatly cushioned with bubble wrap. Relief.

As I reflected on this experience, and tried to guess how the mistake occurred, I realized there is a lesson about God’s character to be reminded of here.

We, humans, make mistakes. God never makes a mistake.

The company delivered the wrong package to me. It didn’t fit my needs. It didn’t have my name on it. It wasn’t intended for me.

God never does that.

In the Bible, we read: “As for God, His way is perfect…” (2 Samuel 22:31a NKJV)

God never makes a mistake, or as I heard a speaker say, quoting a child, “God never says oops.”

I say oops far more often than I care to admit. What a tremendous comfort can be found in knowing that God never says oops!

I like how the verse ends: “The word of the Lord is proven;

He is a shield to all who trust in Him.” (2 Sam. 22:31b NKJV)

As I unwrap my gifts this Christmas, I want to remember that God never makes a mistake in what He gives me. He knows what He is doing. He is trustworthy.

May this truth warm your heart this Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

     Doors with Christmas wreaths

Preschool Christmas Song - Christmas tree

“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” has been my favourite preschool Christmas song to teach my class for several years. Why? There are many reasons.

  • The words and tune are simple and repetitive, enabling children to catch on faster.
  • Children aged 2-4 years old enjoy this song.
  • The actions are full-body motions to get kids moving.
  • The simple actions enable younger children and children with developmental delays to join in.
  • It is a good song for giving the children bells to ring.

Another reason this song is a go-to for me is that it can be used in Christian or secular programs. When I worked in a Christian preschool, we sang this song along with songs about baby Jesus. It fit well. At the same time, in some Lite Bright Christmas Treesecular programs, this song is acceptable. It does not teach about Jesus or Santa Claus, leaving parents the freedom to choose what they teach their children about Christmas. In secular settings, I sing this song alongside Jingle Bells, which is another song traditionally sung around Christmas time, but without any mention of Jesus or Santa.

I wish you a wonderful Christmas, filled with deep joy that leaves you singing a cheery song like this one!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas (Let’s All Do A Little Clapping)

By: Unknown

 

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

We wish you a merry Christmas,

And a happy New Year!

 

Let’s all do a little clapping,

Let’s all do a little clapping,

Let’s all do a little clapping,

To bring Christmas cheer!

 

Let’s all do a little stomping,

Let’s all do a little stomping,

Let’s all do a little stomping,

To bring Christmas cheer!

 

Additional verses:

Let’s all do a little jumping…

Let’s all do a little turning…

Let’s all do a little dancing…

What is your favourite preschool Christmas song?

Looking for another fun Christmas song for your preschooler? Try my new song:  “Baby Jesus, Welcome Lord”