Tuesday, December 20, 2011

December 20: Can You Sing, Daddy?

"Can you sing, Daddy?"

How can you get mad at this face?
 Tommy Bailey is George's youngest son.  George comes home after a day of frantically trying to find a great deal of money that his Uncle Billy has misplaced.  George thinks he is facing scandal, prison, and humiliation.  Mr. Potter (who actually has appropriated the missing money) has sworn out a warrant for George's arrest.  George is tired, desperate, and beaten.  For George, at the moment, this disaster seems like the sum total of his life's work.  He has screamed at Uncle Billy for losing the funds, and now he walks into his house, where his wife and children are preparing for Christmas Eve festivities.  George is preoccupied, angry, and despairing.  His children begin asking him normal children questions.  "Where's the Christmas wreath?" and "How do you spell 'frankincense?'"  Little Tommy asks George the above question.  George snaps at him.

I've been where George is at this point in the movie.  Many times when I come home from work, I'm out of sorts.  Crabby.  Tired.  Fed-up.  I look around our small house (which is bigger, probably, than 99% of the houses in the world) and see clutter and failure.  And then I have kids who want my attention, want Daddy to give them some love.

Last night, I was in a frenzy when I got home.  I was late.  I had a meeting at church to get to.  My wife and daughter had to rush off to another church function.  My three-year-old son came rushing at me, throwing his arms around my legs.  I kept moving around the house, getting things ready for the babysitter who would soon be arriving.  Then, in the middle of all the chaos, my son walked up to me with a book in his hands.  It was The Night Before Christmas.  He held the book up to me and smiled.

I stopped what I was doing, sat down, and read to him.  And then I read it to him again.  And a third time.  It turned out to be the best part of my day.  George doesn't learn that lesson until Clarence the angel visits him.  I didn't need an angel.  I had my son.

Saint Marty sang with Tommy last night.

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