I was reading my way through a slew of prayer requests and feeling overwhelmed by the hopelessness of one disheartening situation after another. Job loss, health crises, financial struggles, family trials, addiction, cancer, despair. Then I thought of Auntie Mame.
You remember Auntie Mame? The movie is well worth renting, certainly for Rosalind Russell’s stellar performance. (Rosalind Russell also had a terrific Guideposts story about how persistence in prayer saved a good friend of hers in World War II.)
The plot of the movie, book and play revolves a wild-partying madcap flapper who in the Roaring Twenties gets unexpected custody of her nine-year-old nephew. “Life is a banquet,” she famously declares, “and most suckers are starving to death.”
The fizz goes out of Mame’s lavish banquets when her financial wherewithal plummets in the Great Depression. Forced to work for the first time in her life, she has a series of disastrous and ill-fated jobs, including falling off a paper moon onstage. She and the much-adored nephew celebrate Christmas in much-reduced circumstances.
But celebrate they do. Mame decorates the house, they sing Christmas carols and exchange presents. One present, as I remember, is paying off the butcher’s bill. Now there’s a present for you. In the musical version, Mame sings “We need a little Christmas right this very minute … need a little laughter, happy ever after.”
We need Christmas, especially when things aren’t going right. Think of the Whos down in Whoville. Even when the Grinch stole their every last present and bauble, even the roast beast, they still celebrated. Christmas morning they gathered together, singing at the top of their Dr. Seuss lungs, hands held together, mouths open wide.
My prayer for those suffering people is that they might still manage to celebrate Christmas. To laugh, to pray, to sing, to be with a friend, to hold the hand of a loved one, to gaze at a crèche, to feel the wonder of God’s presence. You can’t buy that at any store. You don’t need to wrap it up with paper or put an expensive bow on it.
Need a little Christmas? Take it early. We’re here to give it to you on this site with tons of inspiring stories and volunteers ready to pray for your every want and wish. Auntie Mame would have understood.
Read Rosalind Russell’s October 1954 story of newfound faith and wartime heroism.