WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO CHRISTMAS?

Christmas has changed a lot during my lifetime.  For instance, whatever happened to Christmas clubs?  We used to put a few dollars into our Christmas club at the bank every month, hoping to reach our $100 goal by December.  We often settled for a $50 balance.

A Christmas club nowadays might be something you swing wildly on Black Friday to clear a path to the amazing  deals at the electronics counter.

“Every day of the year should be Christmas” has been sung and proclaimed in many yuletide plays and movies.  I think we’re getting there. Christmas sales now begin right after Labor Day and end with a post-holiday door-buster event just before Saint
Valentine’s Day.

Have you noticed? The further we get from the real meaning of Christmas, the more hectic it gets as we get mauled in the malls and go to noisy  parties.  As some wag remarked, “Holiday office parties are a great chance to meet people you haven’t seen for almost a half hour.”  Comedian Phyllis Diller said the thing she didn’t like about the company Christmas party was looking for a job the next day.  An over-spiked wassail bowl can be as dangerous as a whirlpool or a tsunami.  Loosened lips can result in pink slips.

What helps is trying to remember your Christmas moments, like the first time you sat on that welcoming lap and looked up into the smiling eyes of Santa Claus, hoping you’d come out okay on his naughty and nice list. He was always willing  to forgive and forget.

I remember as a young boy, helping to assemble a life-size nativity scene in front of our church.  At one point I was left in the rustic shelter while the others went to usher in the historic  visitors.  For a short while I stood in the fading light of a wintry afternoon, looking down into the manger with Mary and Joseph.  The Baby Jesus was smiling up at us and I realized this was a Christmas moment.  I’d reached the stable before the shepherds and the Magi.

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