Several days a week, my friend Carol takes care of her grandchildren – Michael age 5 and Kristin age 3. Recently, the children were discussing Christmas and trying to decide what to include on their Christmas lists. It’s always so difficult to choose one main toy from so many. Michael, however, is one of those kids who knows how to “think outside the box.” After careful consideration and some heavy-duty thinking, he told little sister, “I’m going to ask Santa for a Toys “R” Us Store.”

Three-year-old Kristin smiled gleefully and said, “Michael! You’re brilliant!”

I’ve been chuckling about Michael’s solution and Kristin’s reaction ever since Carol related that story. It’s evident that Michael knows how to approach a problem from different angles and see possibilities that most of us do not. If he’s limited to one request, then the solution is simple. Search out the source. A Toys-“R”-Us store will do nicely.

In the second chapter of the New Testament book of Luke, we read the story of Mary giving birth to Jesus in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. Then we switch points-of-view to the shepherds who were watching their flocks nearby. They received an unexpected visit from an angel who told them about the birth of the Savior. They immediately left their sheep and went to seek the Messiah.

I’m a very in-the-box thinker. I divide my life into time slots with a task assigned to each. If I’d been a shepherd out there that night, I would have pondered the angel’s message, but I doubt I would have left my sheep. That’s too big a step for an in-the-box thinker. And I would have missed a life-changing opportunity.

Michael inspires me to think past boundaries to become an outside-the-box optimist, a bold thinker with faith in possibilities and miracles.

I wonder where he and Kristin are going to put that store?

Sue Harrison

BIO: Novelist Sue Harrison is best known for her Alaska trilogies. Her novels, national and international bestsellers, have been published in more than 20 countries in 13 different languages. Her novel Mother Earth Father Sky was named by the American Library Association as a Best Books for Young Adults. Sue lives with her husband in Michigan, but has family here in Nebraska and love Nebraska's rich history. She is currently writing romantic suspense for the inspirational market. Catch up with Sue on her website and blog – .