My mom has a ton of those cute little keepsake Christmas books lying around the house. Titles like "500 Ways to Keep Christ the Center of Christmas" and "101 Ways to Simplify Your Holidays." Those I made up--but there are some sweet ones--and I laughed until I had tears in my eyes from this little anecdote from The Greatest Christmas Ever which I don't feel the need cite because it was published in 1974:
The story has been published of a little girl caught in the pre-Christmas swirl of activity, all of which seemed to be coming to a head on Christmas Eve. Dad, loaded down with bundles, seemed to have an even greater number of worries. Mom, under the pressure of getting ready for the great occasion, had yielded to tears several times during the day. The little girl herself, trying to help, found that she was always under foot, and sometimes adult kindness to her wore thin.
Finally, near tears herself, she was hustled off to bed. There kneeling to pray the Lord's Prayer before finally tumbling in, her mind and tongue betrayed her and she prayed, "Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us."
I'm still laughing aloud. When I was about ten-years-old I was reading one of my mom's little books and feeling a little holier-than-thou. I decided to confront her. I accused her of over materializing Christmas. All the decorations and food and gifts were overshadowing the true meaning of Christmas, in my little eyes. What a little snit I was--or maybe I was spot on--in any case--I was probably a little high off church camp. Mother, I take it back--you always made Christmas special. I'm sure I'm only a year away from Calvin giving me the same lecture.
My mother probably heavily considered taking back all my gifts and using the money to feed the poor. She didn't. I mean she did go feed the homeless--just not with my Christmas presents. To this day she and my niece Savannah carry on her tradition of taking food and supplies to the soup kitchen. Apparently you can make family Christmas memories and still contribute to society all while keeping Christ in Christmas. I digress. . .
So--forgive us our Christmases--however we commercialize and materialize Christmas--I hope that the love we put into it and those around us blesses beyond the gifts and the decorations and the cookies. Amen.