Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Carol Countdown: 15 Days to Go!

I was totally worn out yesterday. I actually went to bed at 8:30. Hence, no post. I had a nice deep sleep, but still felt tired all day. I came home and took a nap. I was ready for bed at 8:00 tonight. Just want to tell my stories before I head to bed.

Here's another item from our early family's Advent Activity Calendar. It starts with a young me. Wow were our Christmases spectacular! I always got lots and lots of presents. Even then I remember feeling a huge sense of letdown when the last present was opened. It wasn't a greedy feeling, but I felt that there should be more. Time passes and I'm a young mom. Christmas is more commercialized than when I was a child and it rates a two on the over-doing it scale compared to present day with its over-the-top money, money, money, and buy, buy, buy and more, more, more attitude.

We didn't have much money back then. My husband was just out of college working his first big job. I was a stay-at-home mom. We did a lot of scrimping and doing without. When Christmas rolled around, I worried that my children would feel they weren't getting enough presents. Actually, they weren't. I wanted them to understand the joy of giving and the spirit of Christmas.

In the first year of my marriage, I had read the entire set of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. I had never read them when I was younger and I adored these books. I loved the ways they made do and did without.

One particular story and phrase has stuck with me from these books,it is in Little House on the Prairie. Pa is getting ready to go to town. He has borrowed some nails from Mr. Edwards and needs to buy some to pay him back. It took four to five days to get to town and back and he hasn't been in about a year. Finally Pa decides he'd better "go and get it over with." He equivocates that he could stay back. Ma reminds him that they don't like borrowing and that he has also borrowed tobacco. Ma is almost out of cornmeal. Finally Pa says, "We could get along all right, if I didn't. There's no need to running to town all the time, for every little thing."

I remind myself of that when I start to think of buying something that I think I "need." How much can I get along without? What is necessary? Have you noticed that now in advertisements that "deserve" has replaced the word "need." Now you really "deserve" to buy a new car, or "deserve" the latest vacation. We are a long ways away from what our depression-era parents and grandparents learned and what the quote teaches: there really is very little we actually have to have to get along.

Now I'm rambling...back to the Advent Activity. In my effort to instill good values in my children, one night in the days before Christmas the slip would read, "Little House on the Prairie." In this same volume is a story titled, "Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus." On the prairie it is Christmas Eve. Laura and Mary are worried because there is no snow for Santa Claus to travel with his reindeer. The creek near their home is swollen and roaring. Mr. Edwards had been invited for Christmas dinner but now won't be able to make it because the creek is too high. It is a very disappointed Mary and Laura who go to bed and to sleep. Sometime during the night, Mr. Edwards makes it to their home. He has brought presents from Santa. Laura gets a tin cup of her very own; until then Mary and Laura have shared a cup. They have each gotten a long stick of candy and a very pretty heart-shaped cake with white sugar on top and made from pure white flour. In the very bottom of their stocking is a shiny penny. They marvel at their gifts and stare and stare. Laura writes: "They had never even though of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for your very own. Thing of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny. There never had been such a Christmas."

My children loved this story and eagerly looked forward to it each year. Last year my middle daughter called from Massachusetts on Christmas Eve. She wanted to read the Little House on the Prairie Christmas story to her new seven-year-old step-daughter. I scanned the story and sent it across the United States that night so a tradition could be handed down to another generation.

Tonight's carol is from Brad Paisley. You'll hear in the introduction that he wrote it when he was 13 years old. It's called, "Born on Christmas Day."



An extra treat for you since I slept through yesterday's post!



God Bless.
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