For as long as I can remember, it was all about the presents! Christmas Eve at my house was the one time of the year when the whole family came over for the evening. We would share a meal together, and then gather around the tree and everyone opened presents. They would be handed out one by one with each person opening one at a time until finally the little white cover around the base of the tree was bare.
As kids, we didn’t care if we ate anything on Christmas. I do remember that Mom usually made her fruit jello salad. Good stuff. We generally had some sort of ham; typically in sliced form for sandwiches, and homemade macaroni and cheese. I couldn’t have cared less about the ham, but the macaroni and cheese was AWESOME! Thankfully, my wife now makes it just as well, if not better.
It seemed like the meal took forever.
“Can we open the presents now?” we kids would all beg.
“Not yet,” was the reply. “We’ve gotta smoke one more cigarette.”
(Another reason for me to hate cigarettes!)
So, off I’d go with my niece and nephew in tow to either my bedroom or the basement so we could breathe for a few minutes until they were done fumigating the living room. We’d do our best to distract ourselves while we awaited the wonderful words to cut their way through the fog to our eager ears.
“Time to open the presents!”
You didn’t have to tell us twice! We made a beeline to the tree.
Of course, it didn’t always flow quite that easily.
First of all, we ALWAYS had to wait for my sister to arrive. It didn’t matter what time Mom had told her to come, she was always at least an hour late.
Then, there was the fussing.
“You didn’t bring anything!”
“That’s not what I said I wanted!”
“Give one to Krista!”
“Don’t let anyone have my chair!”
“You shut up!”
Awww, the sounds of CHRISTmas! And, of course, I cleaned up the language.
These days, folks are all talking about how we need to KEEP Christ in Christmas. At my house, we needed to put Him in there in the first place. It wasn’t that we were intentionally anti-religious. It was just not something that was part of our family culture. We didn’t take Him out. He hadn’t yet become a part of it. Either that or He’d been gone so long that no one really ever recalled that He’d been a part of it in the first place.
Santa. Decorated trees. Colored lights. Frosty. Rudolph. Charlie Brown. Shopping. Presents. Arguments.
There’s plenty to keep the faithless busy at Christmas without Jesus being an integral part of it all. Sort of sad. But, don’t get mad about it. Most don’t know any better. Perhaps we who know the reason for the season should spend more time sharing that knowledge, and less time complaining. I think that’s what the message of Christ really is anyway…right? Maybe less public demonstrations, and more personal demonstrating of how Jesus has made a difference to us. Give the reason for the season to someone who needs it.
Let us mimic the angels:
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
So, the next time you’re tempted to get upset because someone wrote “Merry X-mas,” just turn the X sideways and make it Merry +mas….or Merry Cross-mas.
Merry Christmas to you all! Thank you for reading my blogs this year. Your taking the time to read my ramblings is a gift to me.