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Advent: Remember when? (Day 16)

What is your favorite Christmas story?

I’m not talking about your favorite book, I’m talking about you. Your life. What is your favorite Christmas memory? Or a funny memory.

So many times we’re living so far in the future, planning our weeks and months and years ahead of time that we forget to look back. We overlook some of the moments that have made us who we are.

One of my favorite memories growing up was the way my brother did presents. Oh my word. We are similar in many ways but in this way, we are opposite. Growing up, my brother would secretly open every single one of his Christmas presents by carefully tearing the tape along the center of the fold. One year, he brought me in on his shenanigans.

Little rule-follower me, I would have never even considered doing something like this on my own!

There we were, huddled under the tree in the dark of the night, sneaking into our Christmas presents early. I wanted the Barbie ice cream shop more than I could ever describe in words. It was my everything, at the very top of my list. I went for the biggest present under the tree to do my sneaking. Carefully, my brother taught me to open the tape without tearing the packaging. How I could make it look like it had never been opened.

Under the tree that night I found what I wanted. Inside the pretty paper was the Barbie ice cream shop. At once, I was elated and filled with excitement and overwhelmed with crushing guilt. What had I done? How could I go on for days pretending I didn’t know what was inside the package? How would I feign the excitement I should have on Christmas morning, opening a gift when I already knew what it was?

I got what I wanted. I also got something I never saw coming: a lesson.

I learned that anticipation is better than the gift. I learned that wanting and waiting are far more powerful than receiving ever could be. I learned that pretending and lying are impossible roles for me to play. It was impossible then, and it still is now. I’d much rather want and wait than lie or cheat to get what I desire.

The lesson held true; It shaped me. It was a simple thing, but pivotal moment in my life that made me who I am.

Today’s Challenge: Remember a story – perhaps even a Christmas story – that changed you. One that makes you laugh, or smile or be thankful. Share it with your family and have them share theirs.

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