Like most boys growing up in the early 70’s, my older brother and I played a lot of cowboys and Indians.
TV choices were limited in those days but I remember large doses of Gunsmoke and John Wayne movies.
I recall a Christmas when our prized gifts were matching cowboy rifles with pump action and a real-life firing sound.
My memory was foggy as to the timing of the “accident”. I thought it was later on Christmas evening, but my brother tells me it happened on Christmas morning (soon after receiving the guns).
I couldn’t exactly remember whose rifle it was, but I clearly remember my dad walking through the house rapidly cocking and firing the gun while referencing a TV show that was no longer on the air (The Rifleman). At the end of the demonstration, the gun no longer made that cool realistic firing sound. It made no sound at all.
Memory tells me that I wasn’t too upset at the time. It could have been because I just didn’t worry too much about stuff, even as a kid. Or it could have been because I truly believed that my dad could fix anything. But the truth is that it wasn’t my gun that was broken.
My brother and I revived this story this Christmas when I was asked to share a Christmas memory along with my dad at my church for our Christmas Eve service. When I told my brother of my “assignment”, he suggested the same story (and filled in some details that I was pretty sketchy on).
But when I brought it up to my dad, he had no recollection of the gun-breaking incident.
Christmas is a magical time in so many ways. Dad didn’t remember. But his two sons did…..forty years later.
What a great reminder! The things that I do and say today with my kids may seem insignificant to me. But they may be recalling them together forty years later. That’s a pretty awesome reminder to slow down and least try to see Christmas (and life) through the excited eyes of a child.
Forty years after the broken gun incident, I have a pretty good grasp on the fact that stuff doesn’t matter. And growing up, my dad really could fix pretty much anything that was broken. But our Heavenly Father can fix everything that matters. People matter. He sent His Son to save all people.
Christmas matters. The joy and the hope that we feel today as we celebrate our Savior’s birth should not escape us once the gifts are exchanged and the decorations are put away. It’s a joy worth sharing year round. Just as the magic of Christmas reminds us of an opportunity to create a lasting memory for a child, it should also remind us that all of our thoughts, words, and actions have significance each day. Living a life that models our Savior impacts others for eternity……not just forty years.