Just when I thought my head might explode with politics, crises, upon crises, fake news, real news. More than I really needed to know about tragedies.
And then, suddenly, it was Black Friday!
Or, Black Thanksgiving, or Black.. the day before Thanksgiving...
No, I didn't go shopping, but I did start listening to the iconic stars from years past signing classic Christmas songs.
There's nothing quite like Burl Ives signing, 'Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas' to send me packing, down memory lane.
There was Gene Autry, Bing, and Bob, Sammy Davis Jr., and Alvin.
Numerous choral groups and orchestras joined in.
Then, of course, there were the movies.
'Miracle on 34th Street', 'It's a Wonderful Life', about a hundred versions of 'A Christmas Carol'. The Grinch.
Ever wonder why these songs and movies still resonate with people after some 50, 60 or more years?
Nostalgia, traditions, a simpler life, a time when faith and family were the norms, Traditions were held close.
Yeah, I know. Things were not that great for everyone, everywhere. There was plenty of discrimination, poverty, war, violence.
Not all that much different from today's discrimination, poverty, war, and violence.
Faith, Family, Community
Most of the relatives, friends, and family I knew back in the day were poor by today's standards. Heck, we were poor by anyone's standards. We never knew it though. Oh, we knew that there were those who had more, were on a different economic plane, but we didn't have to see it every day. We weren't constantly reminded of what we didn't have.
Especially at Christmas time. We hung our stockings up on December 5th for Saint Nicholas. Not everyone did that. It was like getting an extra holiday, with fresh fruit, nuts, and candy. We kept Advent Calendars complete with a daily treat as the days counted down.
Christmas for us, as children was a time of anticipation and dreams. Vacation from school, building snow forts and ice skating in the front yard.
I still remember waking late one Christmas Eve to what I could have sworn, was the sound of sleigh bells and the next day, Christmas Day, I found deer tracks in the front yard. I know, it was real to me at the age 8. The memory is still there, 60 years later.
Along with music, movies, and traditions.
Slowly, our Christmas innocence became challenged, by the knowledge that not everyone honored Christmas, the season, or the reason.
Different beliefs and those who didn't believe at all, forced their way into our lives.
The melting pot grew, and became inclusive, and divisive at the same time.
'Merry Christmas" became, "Happy Holidays." Christmas plays became holiday plays. Christmas cards and cookies were banned in our schools.
Our kids took, "Winter break."
Now, they tell me that the classic movie, 'A Christmas Story' has about a dozen things wrong with it. It's become sexist, racist, misogynistic. OMG, The kid gets a gun as a gift!
The image of Santa, with its rampant consumerism, now appears before the dentist can buy up the leftover Halloween candy. The mad rush for a TV the size of a Kia or the latest video game, is on, complete with the lack of civility displayed by those, "in the holiday spirit."
Pictures of homeless people, searching for shelter from the cold appear nightly in our living rooms. Military men and women continue to fight and die in another endless war, thousands of miles from home.
Riots on the borders, not just U.S. borders but those around the world with millions trying desperately to escape persecution.
The bubble of despair continues to grow, but yet.
We still celebrate the birth of a child that brought hope into the world. The premise that the world revolves not around us, or the new Lexus but around the one who can bring peace to believers everywhere.
Hope that lives on in the lives of rich and poor alike.
The Cratchits of the world need not live in despair but in confidence that the gift of Christmas can and will touch the hearts of those in power, for the betterment of everyone.
God came down to earth and became human. Born as a baby, He grew to teach, heal and offer hope to all.
It was this hope and love that has lasted over two thousand years. A gift to us.
It's the right size regardless of gender, race, color or creed. It's the right price, at the right time.
The instructions are easy to follow. Use it, embrace it, "Like" and "Share" it as often as possible.
It can be re-gifted without guilt.
The world hasn't changed all that much in the last couple millennia, but neither has the gift. It's still there for us to open and enjoy.
Those in our small town grew up with the idea that everyone had an opportunity to be successful, happy and loved. The example was set and passed down through generations.
Many in the world have turned away from this gift.
If you haven't yet opened yours.