When my son was 11, we all went to a Faith convention in Texas and stayed in a room with a small refrigerator. At that time, my son was so in love with chicken strips, he ordered them everywhere we ate.
One evening, he wasn’t able to finish his strips so he asked for a to-go box. He lovingly put his box in the refrigerator when we got back to the hotel. The next morning, he opened the door to the fridge to get his strips and lo and behold, his chicken strips had disappeared.
It is hard to describe the look of horror, agony and betrayal on Josh’s face when he discovered his dad had eaten his chicken strips. You know how it is; you have your mouth all set to eat something you really wanted and it’s … gone.
Now my husband felt badly but to save the day, he immediately invented the “3-Minute Rule.” He explained to Josh that the 3-minute rule had kicked in and all food was fair game.
The rule was that any food left alone and unattended for three minutes became the property of anyone who came across it sitting there. It created a heated discussion and much laughter that day.
Today Josh is 33 and STILL talks about those chicken strips – AND all the other foods his dad has stolen. What could have just been a few hours of hurt feelings ended up being a memory implant into all of our lives. We still joke about it and still “play” fight over missing food.
The important thing in this Musing is to realize how important family is this Christmas season. The most important gift you give is love. Your family is vital, valuable and precious. Don’t forget that building the knowledge of unconditional love is worth far more than a gift from the store.
No matter how old your kids are, it’s never too late to say, “I love you and I am so proud of you. I’m so glad I’m your parent.” Everyone needs to hear that from their parents. No matter how long you’ve been married, you can still grab a hand, gaze into their eyes and let them know how much you love and appreciate them – and be specific, not nebulous.
For those alone this season, it’s never too late to check on those around you to ensure they experience Christmas love – a lonely elderly neighbor, perhaps?
Another important thing is that family is what you make it. Your parents may be gone – or have never been in your life. Family are those people you choose to let in. Friends who go beyond for you and you for them. Blended families, families that are just a couple, families are who YOU adopt and love.
And, in the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, don’t forget the greatest gift ever given to all of us – Jesus – the reason for the season!