I started this in a properly foul Scrooge-like mood, and now am trying to finish it with a blistering migraine, after early morning medical tests. ‘Tis the season, ho, ho. ho.
Why do I find it a chore to address Christmas cards? Part of it is that I misplace the addresses and have to search them out one by one. Also, I never seem to find a card with which I am happy but matches my cheap nature in seeking out a bargain in cards. That in itself brings a memory. My mother would always look at the back of a card immediately and sneer, cheap card, if it were not a Hallmark card with gold somewhere on it. Some of the folks on my list, when I can find it, are gone, some by death, or dementia, or the sad distance that time and forgetfulness brings to all.
On the other hand, I do not find planning Christmas dinner nearly as taxing as Thanksgiving. In our family, the major work was for Christmas Eve vigil in a Polish household, but we had a big traditional Christmas dinner on Christmas. I recall with fondness making my first plum pudding because our eldest wanted it after reading Dickens. I followed the lead of my aunt and tried to meld different ethnic traditions into Christmas for our daughters, mostly with food. After our divorce, I never saw them on Christmas Day, but they were wonderful about having an early or late Christmas. As our eldest said, “what’s to complain; two Christmases are fine with us.”
I recommend one of my Advent disciplines. I search for Christmas poems and stories for adults and most especially in illustrated children’s books. Once again, we are so blessed to have the well-stocked Hayner libraries for access to Christmas treasures. Following A Christmas Carol, good Christmas books always have a note of gloom. For those touched by the Great Depression, an
Frankie is great. Few books demonstrate the care of thoughtfulness in a family
more strikingly. Jonathan Toomey has
been made into a movie, but it may well be the most beautifully illustrated
children’s book I have ever seen. I read it to a group of clergy and Janet
Riley borrowed it for her children’s sermon. Almost without fail, I re-read
Truman Capote’s, A Christmas Memory, also made into a movie. People my age
member him as a lisping talk show guest, but you will be hard-pressed to find a
more elegantly written piece than this memoir of a rural youth that ends in a
captivating mystical vision. (I just had to go for testing at the hospital and
re-read it and was embarrassed that it brought tears to my Scrooge-like eyes
I wish to thank the Grandpa Gang for the labors it takes to make
wonderland. They then provide a chance for community groups to get some money
to help fund their work. I propose that we put up a Scrooge House as well. I
wish to curse those who vandalize the work of the Grandpa Gang and steal feet
of wire to shroud sections in darkness. Rock Springs
Why are folks so determined to have pictures with Santa but do not consider entering a church to celebrate the birthday of the Messiah? We have some danger in the Santa image, as so much of it can apply directly to the image of God. As children grow skeptical, that same skepticism can apply to the divine. Often, we neglect to rebuild a sense of wonder and new understanding when their childlike notions are dismissed. My prayer is that we can recapture that spirit and see this as a time when we display the best in us, that we fill the invisible stocking of The bishop’s Wife movie with deeds that fit the season, of gentle, kind, compassion.