The room appeared to be thrashing, rocking, back and forth without end. My family and I lie in the room as we tried to pass this night away. Why wouldn’t it end? Was it trying to soothe us to sleep, as a mother to her newborn child? No, that was not it. Likely aware of our silent pleas for the motion to stop, it seemed determined to engulf us with a never-ending torment, as had previously happened to my family.
It was Christmas morning. Tradition has always been important in my family; therefore we expected things to happen exactly as before. Santa would bring our usual pajamas for us to wear the night before. The milk and cookies were to be eaten as they always had been. And as always the children would gather together at the top of the stairs to await parent permission to storm the room which would contain heaping mounds of gifts.
The approval was given, and each child, including myself, dashed into the family room to see what new treasures awaited us. I was anxious for a new laptop to use as an escape from my family. Janelle hoped for new clothes and accessories; a typical teenage girl’s desires. Alec and Dallin would have traded anything just to have a new Wii. Tyler wanted a new bike so that he could fit in with his neighborhood friends, and Caden, not old enough to fully express his desires, simply ran with his brothers and sister just to share the same excitement. Each of us, with our personal hopes in mind, arrived only in shock as we gaped into the family room. Our mouths dropped.
There was nothing. No presents, no gifts, not even a single trace that Santa had even come. Did he forget our house? No, he was here, for I glanced at our plate of milk and cookies and found only crumbs. Perhaps we were naughty children this year? What happened? It was so confusing. Everything in the room was left exactly as it was before. Our empty carpet contained only a simple suitcase with an attached note.
I have appreciated how you try to get along with each other, but I am concerned for you. This year it seems that your Family has not gotten along as well as you normally have. I really count on strong Families like yours to help other Families who are not as blessed as you are. If you only knew what I know about other Families in the world, you would cherish your own.
Children, I need you to be more kind to each other and, though you may not like it, you need to do what your parents ask. So this year, instead of individual gifts, I have decided to give you a Family gift, to share with one another. Starting on December 28th, your Family has the privilege of taking a seven day cruise in the Bahamas together. Here you will learn to love one another, have an enjoyable time, and learn that Family members are meant to be your best friends.
It was on this very cruise that I learned the true meaning of a family. It is not meant to be a nuisance for its members; it is meant to be a fortress, a stronghold against worldly temptations. As we passed our final night away together, our room appeared to be thrashing, rocking, back and forth without end; however, it only strengthened my family to battle that night, and the world, together.
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