For the beginning of the story click here.
Arriving at church, Ma and Pa stack the sleds next to the bike rack and the family enters the community church together to the sound of organ music playing George Frederick Handel's "Joy to the World." "Joy to the world! The Lord is come; Let earth receive her King …."
The twins feel reverent and happy listening to the uplifting and hopeful music. They reflect to each other that they wish every day could feel like Christmas, joyful and full of music. The choir continues with several more Christmas songs and the family joins in on each chorus.
Next, the minister gives a sermon on the meaning of Christmas: that it is meant to be a rebirth of loving kindness in our hearts every day. And that the innocence of the Babe of Bethlehem is a reminder to give purely and unselfishly in order to maintain peace of mind, and help family and neighbors when needed.
Then the congregation fold their hands and bow their heads for a few minutes of silent prayer and meditation, taking time to reflect on the message of caring and love and how it can be put into action. The twins feel peaceful during these moments, and decide that helping out and being kind is really what gives them their best feelings of happiness.
All the way home they think about how much fun it will be helping their parents get ready for their relatives' visit later in the day. Anneke will help set the table and bake cookies with Ma. Hans will help Pa bring in split logs to keep the fire stoked in the wood stove, which is along one wall in the large space that is both living and dining room. The wood stove, the sole source of heat, keeps the house toasty on cold days, as the warm air winds its way up the stairwell to the upper floors.
The day gets very busy, family arrives, everyone eats, their voices getting louder with tall tales and shared remembrances of past times. When they are finally tucked in to their beds, Anneke and Hans each make a promise to themselves to remember that showing kindness and care by helping out when they can gives them the priceless gift of happiness, not just at Christmas time, but every day of the year.
Article and photo of kids being pulled on a sled by Susan Helene Kramer; the characters in this story are fictional, but the setting is true to life.
For offline reading
Short Meditation Stories with Twins Anneke and Hans
Enjoy these 8 little meditation stories with Anneke, Hans, and friends learning meditation techniques that will stick with you like mother's pancakes and syrup on Sunday morning. Illustrated with photos of North Holland. 28 pages.
Meditation for all Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.