For Little Friends

By Mary Riczo Hall

Glad Tidings

How shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard … ? (Rom. 10:14).

Merry Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa, my two favorite missionaries!



Eight-year-old Abby was underlining the word love when her brother, Zac, marched into the living room. “What are you doing?” he asked, peering over her shoulder.

“Finishing my Christmas card for Grandma and Grandpa. Are you done with yours?” Abby looked up at six-year-old Zac as he dropped a fistful of crayons onto the table.

Zac shook his head. “I don’t really want to make a card for them.”

“Why not?” Abby asked, surprised.

Zac shrugged. “I don’t know. It was strange not having them here for Thanksgiving. I missed Grandpa’s great stories about the turkey hunts he used to go on with his dad. And it didn’t seem the same without Grandma serving her secret-recipe pumpkin pie.”

Abby nodded. “It’s been three months since Grandpa and Grandma left on their mission. We’ve never gone that long without seeing them. I miss them too.”

“I always thought that if people loved you, they wouldn’t want to leave you.”

Abby glanced around the living room at the four red knit stockings hung on the mantelpiece, the garland strung around the kitchen doorway, and the colored lights blinking brightly on the Christmas tree. Suddenly her gaze became fixed on the nativity scene placed on a small wooden table in the corner of the room.

“Come with me,” Abby said, gently tugging Zac’s sleeve. She led him over to the small table. “Isn’t this beautiful?”

“Sure,” Zac said with a puzzled look on his face.

Abby carefully picked up two shepherd figures and three small white sheep from the manger scene. She set them on the floor beside her. “Zac, what if an angel hadn’t appeared to the shepherds, telling them Jesus was born?”

“Abby,” Zac said, upset, “the manger doesn’t look right without the shepherds and the sheep.”

“I know,” Abby said softly. “Help me put these back in place.”

She pressed the two shepherds into his hands. “The shepherds knew about Jesus because someone told them. But, Zac,” she added as he placed the shepherds close to the manger, “there are a lot of people who don’t know about Jesus.”

Zac ran his fingers over the top of the stable. “And Grandma and Grandpa are going to find some and teach them about Him.”

“That’s right. Think what a special Christmas this will be for the families Grandma and Grandpa are teaching the gospel to.”

“I still miss them,” Zac said, almost in a whisper.

“Me too,” Abby agreed.

Zac scooped up his crayons. “See you later,” he said.

“Where are you going?” Abby asked.

“I want to make my Christmas card for Grandma and Grandpa.”

“Show it to me when you’re finished, OK?” Abby called as her brother disappeared around the corner. Her gaze returned to the nativity scene. She smiled and gently touched the small star above the manger. “Merry Christmas, Grandma and Grandpa.”

[illustrations] Illustrated by Mike Eagle

No-Bake Thumbprint Cookies

2/3 cup light corn syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 package (12 ounces/340 g) vanilla wafers, crushed

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1/4 cup raspberry jam

  1. 1.

    Mix the corn syrup and the vanilla together. Put the crushed wafers into a separate bowl. Drizzle the syrup mixture over the wafers. With clean hands, blend them together.

  2. 2.

    Form dough into 1 1/2″ (4 cm) balls; roll in walnuts. Press your thumb into the center of each ball, then fill the thumbprint with jam. Refrigerate.

Candy Cane Elf

To make an elf, you will need: a 1″ (2.5 cm) Styrofoam ball, a pencil, a 6″ (15 cm) wrapped candy cane, paper, red and black felt, scissors, glue, and yarn.

  1. 1.

    With the pencil, poke a hole in the Styrofoam ball.

  2. 2.

    Push the ball onto the curved end of the candy cane for the elf’s head.

  3. 3.

    Trace the patterns and cut them out. Using the patterns, cut out two shoes and two mittens from the red felt.

    Shoes and mittens

    shoe, cut two




    mitten, cut two


    nose and mouth, eye—cut two

  4. 4.

    Glue the shoes on the cane’s long end, and the mittens below the head on the cane’s curved end (see illustration).

  5. 5.

    Cut out a red felt nose and mouth and two black felt eyes. Glue them in place (see illustration).

  6. 6.

    Cut the hat from the red felt, and glue it to the head.

  7. 7.

    To hang the elf, tie a piece of yarn under the shoes (see illustration).

Eatable Christmas Trees

1 can white frosting

green food coloring

5 sugar ice-cream cones

small candies and colored sprinkles

5 sugar cookies, 3″ (8 cm) in diameter

  1. 1.

    Blend a few drops of green food coloring into the frosting; frost the outside of each cone.

  2. 2.

    Use more frosting to “glue” each cone upside down onto a sugar cookie.

  3. 3.

    Decorate the trees with candies and sprinkles.

[illustrations] Illustrated by Julie F. Young