Sweet Temptation

First Sunday in Lent

From “Saving the Ants” (Download book at left!) 

Scripture Reference: Matt. 4:1-11

Preparation: Preparation: Bring wrapped candies to pass out.  

This morning, I want to find out how strong all of you are. Do you think you are stronger than something about the size of an ant? Could you beat an ant in a wrestling match? (Let children respond.) I’m sure you could! How about a little beetle? Are you stronger than a beetle? Probably.

Well, I’ve got something in my sack here that’s about this big. (Indicate with thumb and forefinger about one-half to one inch.) Do you think you’re stronger than something that big? Okay, I’ll show you what I have. Candies! No, I don’t want you to have a wrestling match with candy. I don’t want to see how strong these muscles are. (Indicate biceps.) I want to see how strong you are inside. We’re reading a lot of verses this Sunday about temptation. Does anyone know what temptation is? (Let children answer.) It’s seeing something that you really want, but knowing that you should not take it, or wanting to do something that you know you shouldn’t do. Has this ever happened to any of you? (Listen to stories offered.) I know it’s happened to all of us grown-ups here.

Temptation can be really tough to deal with. It’s hard to resist. Sometimes we really need to pray to God and ask for help. “Please God help me from taking that candy!” or “Dear God, I’m really mad at my sister and I want to hit her. Please help me not to!” With God’s help you can resist temptation. Now I’m going to give everyone of you a little temptation; and I’m going to ask you to not unwrap it or eat it until after the service and not until your feet have stepped outside of this church building, then it’s okay to eat it as long as your folks agree. So while you’re here in church, try to resist the temptation to eat it, because you’re really not supposed to eat in church. You’ve got to wait. If you can wait, then you’ve won a small battle and you will be stronger! (Hand out wrapped candies.)

Prayer: Lord, give us the strength to resist doing those things that we should not do. Now if you don’t think you’re strong enough, you can give your temptation to your folks to hold for you… that is as long as they’re strong enough to resist it. Okay, the resistance army can march back to their pews now. Be strong in the Lord!

Salt and Light


Fifth Sunday after Epiphany

From “Saving the Ants” (Download book at left!)  Salt-and-Light

Scripture Reference: Matt. 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?”

Preparation: Bring salt and flour, or do your taste test with salted and unsalted chips.

Jesus once told his disciples that they were salt and light. That was sort of a strange thing to say. What do you suppose Jesus meant by that? Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it useful again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as useless” (Matt 5:13 NLT). In other words, without its strong taste, salt is not much good for anything.

Could I have a volunteer to taste something for me? (Choose a child to try a flour and salt taste test.) I’m going to pour a white powder into your hand. You taste it and tell me if you think it is salt or not. (Put a pinch of white flour into the child’s hand.) Does that taste like salt? (Child can describe the taste.) It doesn’t have much of a taste, does it? It’s bland and plain. Would you put it on your food?

Now I want you to taste something else. (Put a pinch of salt into child’s hand; it can be ground to a powder to resemble flour.) Does that have a strong taste? What is it? (Child responds.) That’s salty salt. We put salt on food to flavor it. If our salt was not salty, it would be useless to put it on our food.

Jesus told his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth . . . and the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13-14 NLT). Do you think that means that as Christians we should hide and keep our belief in Jesus hidden so that it doesn’t taste too strong to anyone? Should we be careful not to say anything about what we believe? (Discuss with children.)

Jesus wants us to be salty, and he wants us to shine brightly. People around us should know for sure that we’re Christians. We should show them love and acceptance and tell them about God and invite them to church.

A little bit of salt on food can make a big difference. One little light can push back the darkness. Just a few salty Christians in a neighborhood can make a difference. Followers of Jesus can change entire neighborhoods, whole societies, even a country.

You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world, so be salty and shine brightly and give glory to God!

Prayer: Help us to be salty Christians, Lord. May we shine brightly in our world and show others the way to you.

Following the Lamb

Second Sunday after Epiphany

Scripture Reference: John 1: 29 -42 

1929 Illustration by Clara M. Burd

1929 Illustration by Clara M. Burd

Preparation: Be ready to sing, with or without accompaniment, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” You may also bring an illustration of a lamb or a stuffed animal.

How many of you know the old nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb?” Can any of you help me sing the song? (Let children join in if they know it.) “Mary had a little lamb, little lamb. Mary had a little lamb, its fleece was white as snow. And everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went… Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.” In the song, the little lamb follows Mary into the schoolhouse, the teacher makes the lamb wait outside and then the other students start asking questions. They want to know why that lamb loves Mary so much and follows her everywhere. And the answer is, of course, that it’s because Mary loves the lamb. This little song reminds me that we love God, because God first loved us. God’s love puts love into our own hearts.

In the Gospel reading for today, John the Baptist calls Jesus the “Lamb of God.” And then, two of the first disciples, Andrew and Simon Peter, start to follow Jesus. It’s sort of funny when you think about it. Usually, a lamb will follow other sheep or the shepherd, or someone named Mary who loves the lamb very much. But here we have two men following the Lamb. Jesus, of course, is a grown man, not really a small sheep, but there are some important reasons why John calls Jesus the “Lamb of God.” And Jesus is called both the “Lamb of God” and the “Good Shepherd” because they both describe who Jesus is and how much Jesus loves us.

Here is one reason why Jesus is called the “Lamb of God.” In Old Testament times, before Jesus was born, people would take a lamb and they would make a sacrifice with the lamb to show God how sorry they were for their sins. They would go to the temple with a lamb and at the temple, they would say to God, “God we are sorry for the wrong things we have done. We place these sins on this lamb. We know that we should be punished for our sins, but we will allow this lamb to take the punishment instead.” And though it was very sad, they would kill the lamb and burn it on the altar. In this way, they were showing God that they wanted to get rid of their sins and be free from sin again. They knew that God did not want humans to be killed when they did something wrong; none would survive, after all. So a lamb was killed for the sins of a human.

This is why Jesus was sent to earth. He was sent to save us from our sins; sent to die in our place on the cross. And this is why John called Jesus, the “Lamb of God.” Even though John the Baptist did not know exactly what was going to happen to Jesus, he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to call Jesus the Lamb of God. Jesus came to save us from death and to bring us to eternal life. We follow a Lamb who saves us.

No Fear

For Times of Fear and Uncertainty

From “Sitting on the Rainbow”

Artwork by Elsa Ingulsrud

Scripture Reference: 1 John 4:16-19

Can you think of a time when you were really afraid? What was it that made you scared? (Let children share.) When did you stop being scared? What was it that comforted you or made you stop being afraid? (Children can tell about their experiences.) When we are scared, it can make all the difference in the world to have someone who loves us close by. Knowing that someone loves us and is there to protect and comfort us can make our fear disappear.

(You may discuss fearful times the children might have experienced, or you may share a time when you felt afraid and then comforted. My example follows.) When my mother was a little girl, she lived on a farm in northern Minnesota. She had to walk to and from school, which was about a mile away. One day, in the middle of winter, a blizzard blew in from the north. When school let out and they started home, it was snowing heavily and the wind was blowing very hard right in their faces. They knew they would have to walk all the way across a frozen lake to reach home. My mother was afraid they wouldn’t make it, that they might get lost in the snow and never reach home. Suddenly, all her fears disappeared. There, right in front of them, stood her father with a toboggan ready to pull them home. He tucked my mother, her brother, and her sister into the sled and covered them up with a big buffalo-skin robe. Then he pulled them all the way home.

There are many things in our world that might make us feel afraid. But do you ever feel afraid of God? (Talk about the responses to this question.) Do you think that God wants us to be afraid of him? The Bible tells us that God is love and that there is no fear in love. 1 John, chapter 4, says that if we really understand God’s love for us and let ourselves be wrapped up in that love, then we will have no fear.

God does not want us to be afraid of him. He wants us to know that he loves us so much that we need to have no fear at all. God is love, and when his love fills us, there is no room left for fear.

God does not want us to be afraid of other things in this world either. Of course, we should stay away from dangerous things so that we don’t get hurt. You shouldn’t ever touch a gun or take drugs that your parents or doctor haven’t given to you. But being careful is much different from being afraid. God wants us to live our lives without fear. God has promised to be with us always; nothing in the whole world can take God’s love away from us. The next time that you start to feel afraid, remember that God is there, God’s love is surrounding you, and there is no need to be afraid.

Prayer: Surround us with your perfect love, dear God, and help us to live our lives with no fear. Thank you for wrapping us up in your love.

A New Creature

2 Corinthians 5:15 – 17  newborn_baby_face-t3

And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them. From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way. So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  

John 3:1 – 8

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

River Baptism Photo Credit: Scott Elmquist

River Baptism
Photo Credit: Scott Elmquist

How far back can you remember? (Let children share memories of their earliest memories. You could also share your earliest memory.) Can any of you remember being born? That might be hard to do at this point. One of my children started talking at a very young age and we had many interesting conversations since it was fascinating hearing the point of view of one so young.

When a baby is born, does it begin life by trying to be helpful to others? Does a baby try to put others first and make sure that they are okay before asking for help or food or love? (Children can share what they think. Older brothers and sisters of infant offspring will probably have something to say about this.) Babies are inherently self-centered, aren’t they? They cry when they are hungry or wet or need attention. It does not matter to a baby if you are tired or hungry yourself. The baby is only concerned with its own survival and comfort. Once it is born, a baby’s first concern is staying alive. It is born for its own life.

Jesus once told a very important man, that in order to be right with God, a person needs to be born again. This man, Nicodemus, thought that was impossible. Once you are born, there is no way that you are going to get back in to the mommy from whence you came. But Jesus was talking about the heart and soul of a person, not their physical body. Jesus was talking about being born again into God’s family; being baptized with water and with the Holy Spirit of God. Baptism is like being born again.

This time, however, you are born into a life that does not have you as its center. A baptized life has Jesus at its center, and so the baptized, or born-again person is born into a life of service to others. A child of God wants to help others first before helping themselves. 2 Corinthians 5:15 says, “And (Jesus) died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.”

Can you imagine a baby turning to its mother and saying, “Mother, I would really like to have some milk now, but I’m wondering if you have had enough to eat first?” That would seem strange, of course, but as we grow up and as we listen to God’s word, we realize that we are here to help others and to show others the Love of God. We are born again to have Jesus at the center of our lives instead of having ourselves at the center of our lives. We pray that God’s Spirit will help us to serve others for Christ.

Prayer: Dear Jesus, Thank you for dying on the cross in our place. Thank you for saving us. Help us to put you at the center of our lives. Help us to live our lives for you and for others. Amen.

Listening to the Shepherd

Scripture Reference: John 10:25 – 30

“My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.” sheep-following

How many of you come when you are called? (Let children respond.) Do you come right away? Does it depend on who calls you, or when they call you? (You might want to find out if the parents agree that they come when they are called.) Well-trained dogs come when they are called, don’t they?

Dogs know their owner’s voice and when they hear the command, they come. Sheep aren’t really as smart as dogs, and they don’t always come when they are called, but they do recognize the voice of the shepherd. (You may want to show one of the videos links below demonstrating that sheep do respond to the voice of the shepherd.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Coq_grSFlNs

It may take a while for some of them to come, but they eventually do come.

Sheep will not come to a voice that they do not recognize:


Jesus is our Good Shepherd and he knows us and He calls to us. In the Gospel of John, chapter 10, it says, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them and they follow me. I give them eternal life and they will never perish.”

Jesus is calling, but are we listening? Do we hear Jesus when he is encouraging us to do the right thing? To obey our parents when we know we should? To do the work that we promised to do? To be kind and generous when we feel like being mean and selfish?

The Good Shepherd calls to us because Jesus loves us and wants us to grow up to be God’s followers and to love one another. The voice of Jesus guides us in our lives and helps to keep us safe.

I don’t always listen very carefully to God’s voice, but I try. And I know it has saved my life on many occasions. (Here you may share your own story of God’s protection.) Last week, while biking to school, God preserved my life. I was preparing to make a right hand turn, which is the dangerous one here in Japan since we drive on the left side of the road. I was approaching the intersection, saw that the light had turned yellow and so I slowed down ready for the green arrow that would allow me to turn right. My green arrow flashed on and I started to step on the pedals to push out into the intersection with my right hand extended, signaling my turn. I hesitated, thought I should look back one more time, and just as I did, a big truck came blasting straight through the red light coming past me on my right side, almost smacking my extended hand.

It was surprising, of course, but I then finished my turn and looked back at the corner where a policeman was standing. He had seen the whole thing. I called across the street to ask me if he had seen what happened and he nodded his head “yes.” So I then continued on to work.

That hesitation; that feeling that I should stop or look or be careful has come at other times in my life and it has made all the difference. God is always calling to us. Just as sheep that listen to their shepherd are protected and fed, our lives are blessed when we listen to the voice of Jesus.

Prayer: Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being our Good Shepherd. Help us to listen for your voice

A Noisy Parade

Palm Sunday

From “Saving the Ants” (Download book at left!)

Scripture Reference: Matt. 21:1-11 BjornwPalm-300x289

Preparation: Bring a large palm branch to signal the shouts of “Hosanna!” If possible, bring palm leaves to hand out to the children.

Today is Palm Sunday! Do you know what happened on Palm Sunday? There was a parade. How many of you have been to a parade? They’re exciting to watch, aren’t they? There are lots of people lining the streets, waiting to see the action. There’s lots of noise; marching bands and horns; people yelling, laughing, and dancing; clowns throwing candy and kids running around. It’s bright, colorful, and noisy.

I like parades. I want you to imagine that you’re all sitting by the side of a dusty road, waiting for a parade to start. You got up early to get a good seat and you’re waiting. You wait for a long time, but you don’t hear anything. Finally you hear voices, shouting, singing, laughing. You see dust rising at the end of the road.

Someone’s coming! First you see the people with palm branches, waving them around, and throwing them on the ground. Then you see colorful blankets thrown on top of the dust, making a tapestry path for someone important. Finally, you see the guest of honor, the King, making his triumphant entry into Jerusalem! You expect him to be riding in a fine chariot drawn by splendid horses, or at least in a fancy seat carried by servants. But that is not the way that this King arrived in Jerusalem. How did he make his entrance? (Children may answer.)

He came riding on a young donkey. Have you ever seen a parade that consisted solely of one man riding on a donkey? It may not sound that exciting, but this was King Jesus, the man who could do miracles and heal people. The crowd knew who he was, and they went wild! They yelled, waved palm branches, and threw their coats on the road! Did they make a lot of noise? They sure did! The whole city heard them! Everyone came running.

We’re going to hand out these palm leaves for you to wave, and I’d like everyone on this side to yell, “Hosanna!” and everyone over here to yell, “Blessed are you, King Jesus!” When I raise this big palm branch, you can start yelling. If I raise it really high, you can yell really loud. When I lower the branch down, stop yelling, okay?

Let’s see what Palm Sunday might have sounded like! (Raise palm branch and encourage everyone, including grown-ups, to join in.) Hosanna to the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

Prayer:  Blessed are you, King Jesus. We honor you today as the Messiah and our Lord and Savior. Hosanna! 

Out of the Shell and Into the Light

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Out of the Shell into the Light

Biblical Reference: Matthew 5:13 – 15  Snelly and Joel

A conversation with a snail:

Pastor speaks to a puppet snail who is pulled most of the way into its shell.

Me: Hey, Snelly! How are you doing this morning?

Snelly: I’m fine. As long as I can stay inside my shell, I’m fine.

Me: Are you going to stay in there all day? Aren’t you going to come out and be part of the worship service this morning?

Snelly: I don’t think so. It’s much safer in here, inside my shell. So if you’ll excuse me… (starts to pull back into his shell).

Me: Wait, Snelly. If you pull back into your shell and just stay there all day, you’ll miss out on a lot of fun things. Life happens here in the light. Jesus calls us to step into the light.

Snelly: Hey, I’m just trying to protect myself here. I can pull myself into my shell where it’s dark and I am protected.

Me: But, Snelly, you are already protected. Jesus is your Good Shepherd.

Snelly: You ever seen a shepherd with a flock of snails? No. I don’t need a shepherd. I’ve got a shell.

Me: Yes, Snelly, you’ve got a shell, but if you stay in your shell all the time, afraid of the world outside, then you are really just a prisoner.

Snelly: A prisoner?

Me: Yes, you are trapping yourself inside your shell in the dark where all you can do is sit and hide and let life pass you by.

Snelly: What else can I do? I’m a snail!

Me: You can look to the light. Trust God to take care of you and don’t be afraid. Life is to be lived! You are not meant to hide in your shell in the dark your whole life.

Snelly: Well, it is kinda boring. Not much to see inside my shell. Can I really trust God to take care of me?

Me: God will take care of you. Psalm 27 says, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” God is your light and God is your stronghold; stronger than your own shell.

Snelly: Ok, I guess I can slide out into the light. I will BE the light in this world. Just don’t ask me to be salt. Snails don’t especially like salt. With Jesus’ help, I will be a light.

A Glimpse of Glory

Transfiguration Sunday; Last Sunday after the Epiphany

Adapted from “Scolding the Snakes”

Scripture Reference: Luke 9:28-36

Today is Transfiguration Sunday. Transfiguration means to change the way something or someone looks. On this day, we remember how Jesus went up on a mountaintop with his disciples and showed them just how special he was.

Jesus had told his disciples, his close friends, that he would be killed and later rise from the dead. How do you think the disciples looked when Jesus told them that bad things were going to happen to him? Show me how the faces of the disciples must have looked. (Let the kids act out the sad emotions.) They must have been very, very sad.

Eight days after he had told them this, he chose three of his disciples, Peter, James, and John to climb up a mountain with him. Let’s all pretend we’re climbing together. (Pantomime climbing motions.) Whew! Let’s sit down and rest like the disciples did when they got to the top. (Sit down together on steps or floor.) Jesus took the disciples with him up that mountain to pray, but the disciples were very tired. The disciples prayed with him for awhile. Let’s all pray like the disciples. (Fold your hands with children.) But pretty soon those tired disciples fell asleep. Show me how you can fall asleep on the ground. (Let kids act out sleeping.)

While Jesus was praying, his face and clothing began to glow like a light was shining inside him. His clothing turned white and glowed brightly. Two famous prophets, Moses and Elijah—men who had lived many, many years earlier—suddenly were right there talking to Jesus. The disciples woke up and saw the brightness and glory of Jesus, and they saw the two prophets talking with him. They were so surprised, they couldn’t speak.

What do you think the disciples looked like when they saw Jesus glowing and those old prophets standing in front of them? Show me what they might have looked like. (Make a look of amazement on your face and invite kids to do the same.) I’m sure that this was a day that those disciples remembered for the rest of their lives.

Jesus was showing his disciples that he was truly special, that he was the Son of God. How do you think that made them feel about him? (Let children answer.) Jesus wanted to remind them that no matter what might happen, and no matter how sad they might feel or how bad things might seem, Jesus was very, very special. He was God’s Son. He would always be there to help them. This is what we remember and celebrate on Transfiguration Sunday.

Prayer:  Jesus, thank you for always being nearby to love and help us. Remind us over and over again how very special you are and how very lucky we are.

Nativity Rat at the Manger

Jean-Baptiste_Marie_Pierre_-_Nativity_-_WGA17676Every typical nativity scene includes a few animals, usually a sheep, a cow and a donkey. Sometimes the camels show up and every once in while, a dove or two. Do you see any rats? Do you think they were possibly hiding in the straw that holy night of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem? Here is a Christmas Eve script that sticks up for the ones who tend to be pushed out of the scene on Christmas and at other times of the year. Not all of us show up in our Sunday best to the manger, but Christ accepts all of us, the ratty and the tattered. We all matter. All are welcome.

This script’s cast calls for one human (Ruth), a lamb (Baabara) and a rat (Grudge the Rat). It was performed at West Tokyo Union Church (WTUC) on Christmas Eve, 2015.

Christmas Eve Children’s Sermon:

Baaabara: This is wonderful! I love imagining that we are at the manger on the night that Jesus was born. I think some of my ancestors were there the night of Jesus’ birth.

Ruth: They probably were. We know that there were sheep nearby because there were shepherds.

Baa: And the sheep followed the shepherds when the shepherds followed the star that led them to the manger.

Ruth: There are so many Christmas carols that mention sheep because shepherds and sheep are a big part of the Christmas story.

Baa: That makes me feel all warm inside. I mean, I do have wool to keep me warm on the outside, but the Christmas story makes me feel all warm inside.

RAT: (Rat pops up in back.) Well, isn’t that nice. And while you’re all warm and toasty inside and out, I’ve been locked outside, freezing my poor little rat tail off! I suppose now that I have managed to sneak inside, someone is going to pick up a broom and yell, “Dirty rat!” and chase me back outside.

Ruth: No, no! Don’t worry. No one is going to chase you out. You can stay. Everyone is welcome at the manger.

RAT: The RAT knows that everyone is welcome at the manger, but most people don’t know that. We get chased away all the time.

Baa: Oh, that’s sad. You’re welcome to stay here with us. You can be part of the nativity scene.

RAT: You ever seen a nativity scene with a rat in it? No, probably not. But did you know that some of MY ancestors were there at the manger the night that Jesus was born?

Ruth: I didn’t know that. There aren’t any rats in any Christmas carols.

RAT: No, and that’s a shame, since so many words rhyme with “rat.” Someone should write us into a Christmas carol. We were there at the manger. Of course we were. Every stable has its rats.

Baa: That’s true. There are rats in almost every country in the world.

RAT: Yeah, we get around. But here’s the important thing: while everyone loves a cute and fluffy sheep, no one loves a rat. We get left out or thrown out of every celebration… but not this one. Christmas is different. God became human and was born into this small, dangerous and dirty world that we call earth.

Ruth: It was a very risky thing to do.

RAT: Can YOU imagine being asked to be born a rat instead of a human? Would YOU jump at the chance, to be born a rat, just to show a bunch of other rats that God loves them more than anything in the world?

Ruth: That is hard to imagine.

RAT: Humans think they’re pretty grand. But compared to God, they’re not all that. People accuse rats of spreading disease and chewing up things and making messes… well, compared to humans and the damage they have done to the earth, rats are angels.

Ruth: Yes, I see your point.

RAT: So compared to the Creator of the Universe and all things good and amazing, humans and rats are almost on the same level. But God loves us anyway. God loves the ratty and the tattered. God loves us even though we are small and mean. God loves even the rat.

Baa: No one chased your ancestors away from the manger?

RAT: No one chased us away. It was a holy, special night. We were there to worship the baby King. We knew that God loves us all, even those of us who are rats.

Baa: That’s wise observation. I think that rats should be part of the Nativity scene. If the sheep get to be there, the rats should get to be there too.

RAT: Thank you, Baabara. I appreciate that. That actually makes we feel all warm inside, and I’m not even covered with wool.

Baa: You’re always welcome here. WTUC is a church “Where all are welcome.” It even says so on the bulletin. All are welcome.

RAT: Even rats?

Ruth: Even rats.Ratty and Ruth

RAT: Well, thank you. I will stay for the rest of the service. But I see Mary coming…  and just in case she gets nervous around rats, I’m going to find a warm corner to curl up in. I don’t want to get stepped on.

Baa: Thank you for joining us at the manger. And I’ll ask the Pastor to add a rat figurine to the Nativity set.

RAT: Thank you very much. I appreciate the gesture. Merry Christmas Baabara. Merry Christmas, WTUC.

Ruth: Merry Christmas to you, dear Ratty!