The Christmas Prayer
When I was a kid, we had a tradition for several years of going to see a movie on Christmas Eve. Afterward, we would come home and gather around the Christmas tree to open gifts. However, before we opened them, Dad would read the story of Jesus' birth from the Bible and we would pray together as a family.
I really don't know exactly when it started to go wrong. I suppose it was because of the excitement of finally getting to open those presents we'd been shaking and staring at for so long. We were kids, after all! Whatever it was, though, it went like this. The Christmas story was read, Dad began to pray, and Chris & I busted out laughing. I mean the kind of laughing that has tears rolling down your face! We couldn't stop. The first year it happened, I do remember Dad stopping mid-prayer, looking at us, and asking what in the world was going on. We quieted down, but as soon as he started again, so did the laughter. Every year, it was the same thing. Seriously.
Fast forward to now... The same thing still happens. I remember in 1991, and Chris and Shelly were sharing their first Christmas as a married couple. Jeff and I were engaged, and I guess I thought that since we were "grown up" now, we would be able to make it through a prayer. But, no. We couldn't do it. Shelly and Jeff must have thought we were insane. I tried to explain it, but I was laughing too hard. Mom just smiled and rolled her eyes, no doubt thinking "What have I done wrong?"
These days the only thing that is different is that we don't get together on Christmas Eve. Instead we gather and Mom and Dad's on Christmas Day, and yes, we still laugh as soon as Dad starts to pray. Even Dad laughs now. Our kids, on the other hand... they think we are weird!
I love that I have a family I can laugh with. I love the joy of the Christmas season. What makes you smile at Christmas?