On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. —Matthew2:11 (nrsv)
Our daughter Lulu’s idea of the perfect Christmas is lots of presents— not merely for her, but for the whole family, and more than last year. She likes abundance.
This Christmas should have been a complete failure by Lulu’s standards. Charlotte had asked for a contribution toward a plane ticket to meet her Australian boyfriend’s family over the holidays. We agreed, and Charlotte, dazed with love, was adamantly content.
No presents for Charlotte under the tree was depressing for the rest of the family though, especially for Lulu. Initially, she reveled in her own growing piles compared to the few tights and socks I’d wrapped just to give Charlotte something to open on Christmas morning. But as the day approached, Lulu became increasingly agitated about the disparity. By Christmas Eve, even Charlotte seemed depressed, and I dreaded our ritual, officiated by Lulu, of taking turns opening presents.
The two appeared in our bed at 6:00 am, as pushy and merry as ever, and somehow, despite Lulu’s careful calculations of who should open what, her sister ended up with a little stash of gifts at the end when ours were all opened—a loaves-and-fishes miracle of sisterly love! It was my best present this year, sure to redeem this sad business of presents for years to come.
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