EXAMINER PUBLICATIONS – DECEMBER 19, 2007
Yes Virginia, it’s time for the Christmas column again. Got your shopping done? Didn’t think so. Me neither. Don’t worry-you’ll take care of it and everyone will be happy to know that you remembered them. When you took the time really doesn’t matter.
While we’re at it, can we make “don’t worry” the theme of Christmas 2007? You don’t even have to go as far as “don’t worry, be happy.” “Don’t worry” will do quite nicely. The second half tends to follow naturally anyway.
Veteran readers of this column know that your humble correspondent often laments over the Age of Fear that we live in today. We enjoy a brief existence in this mortal realm. It seems such a shame to spend our days shivering in fear, fretting over every last disaster our imaginations can conjure up, especially since 99 percent of the disasters never happen.
We are told to be afraid. There are people-more every year-who profit from the climate of fear. And guilt. Let’s not forget guilt. Between fear and guilt, oozing into our lives every single day, it’s a wonder that people dare to step outside their homes every day.
It’s Christmas folks. So, just for a day, push the fear and the guilt aside. You can go back later, to being a greedy, arrogant American bent on world domination, repenting all of your crimes against humanity, not the least of which is daring to drive your kids to school in an SUV and buying 60-watt light bulbs when you should be buying 40-watt bulbs to save the polar bears.
There will be plenty of time, on December 26, to remember how all those greedy corporations are trying to kill you, how Wal-Mart is ruining the world with their damn cheap goods which draw crowds of lower class families who don’t understand how they’re being exploited when we really should be supporting them because somewhere, some time, somebody we were related to did something bad to someone they were related to.
We can reflect-later-how mold, second-hand smoke, lead paint, methyl ethyl ketone and cell phones are sure to kill us and the children we were silly enough to bring into this horrible world long before our, and their, time, and we can certainly discount the thought that we still somehow manage to live longer than ever, for its just a matter of time before life expectancies drop from 80 years to 40 and then we’ll all know that we should have been even more afraid all along. Save those thoughts. Just for a day.
This Christmas, give yourself a gift, one that you deserve.
Reflect on the fact that you have raised a good family, if you have raised a family, and while your kids might drive you crazy at times, you know that they have their hearts in the right place, and that will make all the difference, and you can take some credit for that.
Remember that you have not forgotten those less fortunate than you. Perhaps you participated in a program to give to less-fortunate families this holiday season. Perhaps it was simply a matter of buying that unexpected, generous gift for that sibling who has had a tough year. Maybe it was just dropping a buck in the Salvation Army bucket, which you normally wouldn’t do, but that bell-ringer looked awfully cold and you figured you could break your rule, just this once.
You’ve got friends. You’ve got family. They might be a little more distant than you’d like. They might be closer than ever. Doesn’t matter. You’re a part of their lives, and they’re a part of yours. Those relationships will continue to change and evolve, sometimes for the worse, but-in the long run-almost always for the better. And it’s having those relationships in the first place that make all the difference.
Should you have a relationship with someone special, perhaps this Christmas is a day to remember why. Perhaps they exasperate you at times. Perhaps not. But you have made the journey together, have you not? Nothing compares to taking the journey hand in hand with another.
If you don’t have that special partner in your life right now, put despair aside for a day, should it be despair that you feel. Take this Christmas to remember the possibilities. The rest of your life is a blank canvas, yet to be painted, and this part of the picture may yet be a beautiful portrait as well.
You certainly do not have to be a Christian to experience the joy and hope that this day should bring. You don’t even have to believe in God. Christmas is open to everyone. And, with an apology to retailers everywhere, there’s no cover charge.
For it’s not a day about presents, stockings hung over the chimney with care or fat guys in red suits who scare the poop out of toddlers. Those are all sideshows. Pleasant sideshows to be sure, but hardly the point.
Whether you believe the story or not, there is something wonderful about the image that is the essence of Christmas. A poor, loving couple enduring danger and hardship on a cold winter’s night. A star shining brilliantly in an indigo sky. An innocent child born in the midst of chaos, confusion and despair.
A child with a gentle smile who represents hope, who stands for everything good in the world that is and that can be. A child who shows that the future may not be quite so bleak after all.
You may believe that such a child was born 2,000 years ago, or you may believe that he is just part of a comforting legend. No matter. This December 25 consider the message, not the reality, and make this a day of peace on Earth and good will toward all of man-including yourself. You’ve earned it my friends.