“Only seven more days till Christmas!” Mr. Lennox shouted down from the ladder to his son Charlie.

“Really?” the boy replied, playing with a tangled strings of lights that were lying in the grass.

“Yup, only a week away.” Mr. Lennox squeezed the trigger on the staple gun. Thwack, the staple pierced the white fascia board below the gutter. Lenny, as his friends at work called him, loved this time of year. He found Christmas time to be full of cheer. He hummed to himself as he as he hung the lights above the garage. “Fa-la-la- la-la-la la-la-la…” Sue, his his wife was inside decorating the artificial tree. Boy does that tree look nice he thought to himself as he leaned over on the ladder to catch a peak through the front window. I am so blessed.

“Hey Dad,” Charlie called up to his father.

“Hey what?” asked Lenny.

“Did you get me that remote control car I asked for for Christmas?”

“You’ll have to wait and find out” Lenny replied.

“Ahhh,” Charlie let out a sigh disappointment. “I’m so excited and can’t wait to play with it. It’s looks so cool!” Charlie walked over and stepped up on the first rung of the ladder below his dad. Vroom. He made a car sound as he pretended to drive an imaginary car up the ladder with his hand.

“Watch out buddy. I’m coming down,” Lenny said as he began climbing down the ladder. Stepping down onto the driveway, he gave Charlie’s arm a squeeze and tussled his blond hair.

“I love you son.”

“I love you too, Dad.”

The alarm clock woke up Lenny at 6 a.m. on the dot like usual. After a quick shower, he padded downstairs in his slippers to make some coffee.  He wished the grinder wasn’t so loud since it always seemed to wake up Charlie, but the fresh taste was totally worth it. Ten-year-old Charlie skipped into the kitchen a minute later full of energy, his bed head sticking up in every direction.

“Good morning Dad!” Charlie practically yelled.

“Shh! your mom is still sleeping.” Lenny whispered. “Good morning buddy.”

“Dad, there’s only six days left till Christmas!” Charlie said a little quieter than the first time.

“Says who?” Lenny asked.

“Well yesterday you said there was seven days left.”

“Yes, and there’s seven left today too.”

“But that doesn’t make any sense Dad.” Charlie furrowed his brow thinking what about what his Dad was saying. Yesterday there was seven left. Today there must be six, Charlie thought to himself. “Tell me the truth. How many days left till Christmas?”

“Seven,” Lenny replied rather sternly.

Feeling befuddled but not wanting to argue with him, Charlie took his dad at his word and decided he would wait until the next day to ask again. It sure didn’t make any sense that there was “seven days left till Christmas” two days in a row.

The third day, Charlie woke up at the usual time and came down stairs as his father was reading the news on his tablet. The coffee machine gurgled as it sucked up the last of the water.

“Dad,” Charlie said with timidity in his voice. “I have a question.”

“What’s the matter son?” Lenny asked looking up from the screen, already assuming what was coming.

“I want to know how many days till Christmas,” Charlie said with hesitation in his voice. He breathed in deeply and let out a sigh.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of. I always tell you the truth son,” Lenny reassured him. “Just like I told you before, there’s seven days till Christmas.”

“But, but.” Charlie began to stammer. “That was two days ago,” he said with certainty.

“It’s the truth. I don’t know what you want me to tell you,” Lenny told his son emphatically. He looked down at his tablet again and continued reading.

After a few more awful days of this Charlie stopped asking about Christmas. He was deeply hurt. He didn’t believe what his Dad told him anymore. “Seven more days…” Months passed and Christmas still hadn’t come. He didn’t know if it would ever come. He did know one thing. There wasn’t seven more days till Christmas.

This short story was written in response to John Lennox, an Oxford University professor of mathematics and philosopher of science, who proposes that creation took place in 24-hour days with long periods between the days. “If I believe that the earth is four and a half billion years old, am I denying the authority of Scripture?” (see WORLD Magazine, April 1, 2017, “Ages between days”)