The day has arrived, It’s Christmas Day. In my 73rd year on the planet, I have, as many of you have, many memories of Christmases past. Many were pleasant, some not so much. This year will be observed without the company of my offspring, or my grandkids, but rather in the company of my wife of 42 years and our two faithful four-legged companions, Bentley and Madison.
As the lyrics of one of the season’s classic songs profess… ‘Oh, the weather outside is frightful’, Mother Nature continues her grip on the region with below zero temps, even more dangerous wind chill readings, we are blessed to have the furnace keeping our home relatively warm, although it seems with each passing year, the body’s ability to slough off the effects of arctic blasts diminishes significantly.
Unfortunately, the ‘reason for the season’ has also lost it’s impact on our society, not totally, but for many of my fellow citizens, Christmas has become a frantic race to see who can impress others with their ‘gifts’, or more to the point, make good on the ill-conceived notion that we have to get something of ‘value’ for all the people on our ‘list’, lest we be perceived as less than caring. The fallacy of that is that ‘buying’ something you think someone else would like, doesn’t have the same weight as making something for that person that truly demonstrates your level of love for them as a person in your life, even if your skills at creating a gift are less than magnificent.
If you think back to the time when your kids made a project in school and presented their handiwork to you as a present, you know what I’m referring to. That family portrait drawn in crayon was displayed with love on the refrigerator door for the longest time, then preserved for many years after.
I was able to witness the closeness a family had for the holidays in the winter of 1972, when I returned to the States from overseas, and was waiting for my car to arrive from Germany. There was a delay that necessitated finding a place in the New York area until a few days after Christmas. One of my former Air Force buds invited us to stay with his family.
Their long-standing tradition of making all their ‘presents’ was something that I had never experienced before, and came away with a new perspective on the holiday that has stayed with me ever since. The joy in the faces of the recipient when the gifts were unwrapped was priceless, as they all knew how much effort and love were poured into each creation. It was ‘the thought that counts’ was a concept that really hit home for me.
Since then, we made attempts to re-create that magic in our household, however, the pressures of society to succumb to the commercialization of the season seemed to have won out most of the time, for that I’m disappointed, and this year, one fraught with many obstacles, has been a sparse offering of ‘presents’. Seems ‘the Grinch’ was victorious in many ways.
2022, for many, has been a continuation of the deterioration of our nation’s spirit, the direction being forced on our citizens is tearing the fabric of ‘America’ apart, with a breaking point no doubt not too far off. This Christmas Day, for me, is an amplified attitude to ensure that 2023 reverses that trend. There have been indicators that there are forces at work to do just that.
For today… whatever your beliefs, religion, or individual circumstances, I wish you all the best as we navigate the future on the same globe of existence.