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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas

Christmas Eve


Christmas has almost come and gone. I am sure some are glad when it will be over. There are always a deluge of newspaper and magazine articles about the commercialization of Christmas. There always lots of conversations and assertions from friends and associates, as well as strangers, about the crowds, the shopping demands, the traffic jams, the rudeness of fellow shoppers and other negative aspects of Christmas time. To many people, Christmas is a mini war that needs to be planned, staffed up and fought. This morning while the Lovely Sharon was getting all gussied up for our 10:30 golf game on Ironwood’s South Course, I drove to Albertson’s to buy some crab legs for tonight. I thought about Christmas, what it means to me, how it affects me and how I perceive those around me at this time of year.

Christmas has a wonderful religious and spiritual history and significance. The Christ Child, the hope for redemption for each of us. This means something to me. But beyond the religious foundations of Christmas, or maybe because of the religious foundations of Christmas, for me Christmas is a detour around regular life. I must admit I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about religion during Christmas, or for that matter the rest of the year. I go to Christmas Mass. I say Christmas prayers. But Christmas makes me think of peace and war, of friends and family, of love, of the poor and the homeless, of the blessings and bounties that some have and the bare cupboard that others have.

Christmas music somehow touches my soul, it comforts me. These songs don’t change. The Christmas songs that I sang and loved as a boy 50 years ago are the same songs I sing and love today. These songs create a timeless connection of the years of our lives. As I look back on each decade of my life I see that I have sang the same Christmas songs. I have loved the same Christmas songs.

I like to see a beautiful Christmas tree. You see them at businesses, at country clubs, at churches and at the homes of our friends and families. Doesn’t it give you a warm feeling when you walk in to a friend’s home and the first thing you see is their Christmas tree, all aglow with packages beneath the branches?

During the Christmas season I greet friends and total strangers with the words “Merry Christmas” and in response they offer me their own “Merry Christmas”. I don’t know if it because of global financial ills, but it struck me this year that as I greeted someone with “Merry Christmas”, even a total stranger, I really meant the words. They were not just a mantra like “have a good day”. I really wanted to wish my friend or this stranger a Merry Christmas. I really hoped that all is well with them; that there is food on their table and a roof over their head. I really hoped that their health is good and that their loved ones are well.

I like the way that ladies wear Christmas finery to parties or to church. I like to see men in goofy Christmas ties. We pass cars and trucks with red ribbon bows or Christmas wreathes on their front grills.

I like the phone calls we make to loved ones scattered across the company or just around the block. These short phone calls are expressions of love, togetherness and thankfulness that we share a life together. These are the calls where we are trying to give our loved ones a hug through our words rather than our arms.

When I close my eyes and picture the Lovely Sharon on a Christmas morning, I see her in her robe and slippers. Her hair not quite combed; a smile on her face. Looking at her warms my soul.

Yes, I do love Christmas despite all of the craziness, the crowds and the bills. I love the fact it makes me think about being kind and helpful. It makes me want to do better, to be better. Christmas makes me want to tell each of you that I love you and I am glad you allow me to be part of your life.

Merry Christmas

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