Christmas Thoughts


Here’s the deal, its Christmas and things are not going well in our world. People are worried about jobs, money, gas prices, house prices, wars, terrorists and general misery in the world. But it is still Christmas. And that has nothing to do with the worldly worries around us, it has to do with the miracle of a Virgin Birth, followed by the raising of the baby that became a boy, and then a man, who was the Savior of mankind, the Messiah for all. That is what Christmas was about. So, no matter how many presents are under the tree, or not, no matter how much food you have, or not, no matter how many worries are out there in the world, or not, the one thing we are celebrating that has unending meaning and purpose is the birth of the Christ child. That is one thing that never changes, he was born, he lived, he sacrificed himself, and he died.

Ok, you don’t believe in the miracle of Jesus Christ, but you still celebrate Christmas. For the peace, the traditions, the pagan festival that falls at the same time, whatever the reason, this is still a time for being introspective and peaceful. It is a time for family, friends, laughter, and joy. Stop the merry go round of life for a few minutes and take the time to allow yourself to be happy. Just BE for a moment and soak in the pleasure of the season. Let yourself be light, be joyful, be celebratory, for in our country this is the very time of year for those feelings to be shared.

Or, maybe, your a bah humbug type, all grouchy and grumpy when it comes to this time of year. Take a deep breath and catch a plane to somewhere warm and sunny, or cold and mountainous to ski, whatever. But go do something other than the same old grind. Maybe the grump in you will allow the happy out. Take a chance and maybe you will find something in Christmas after all. After all, a holiday is a day off from work. That is generally something to rejoice in. Generally, unless you like your grumpy puddle too much to take a chance.

I saw a little kid today in one of the big stores. All the decorations and flashing lights were mesmerizing to her. She kept turning in circles looking up as she gazed at the lovely, bright baubles and ribbons. Her mother, shopping and harried, snapped at her to stop turning around and to pay attention. The kid sighed and said, “I am mommy, see if you turn around you look big then little then big in the red ball.” I wish I could say her mommy stopped and payed attention to her, but she just grabbed her arm and dragged her off. So I went over and turned around and she was exactly right. It brought her joy, fleeting as it may have been, to discover how different things took in a rounded ball than they do in a regular flat mirror. I want to be like that little girl, finding new and exciting things happening around me during the Christmas season. I don’t want to be like her mother, harried and too busy to notice the beauty and mystery of the season.

I was listening to music in one of the stores when I was with my grandson. He started singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town along with the music. At first, I started to shush him, but decided to sing along with him. People stopped and stared, but they all smiled and a few even joined us. What a moment! Nick may not remember it, but then, he may because we got a round of applause at the end of the song and everyone laughed. Hey, it was a good moment in everyone’s day. And I have a new memory to store away and write about in my journal. Nick and Nana, singing in the store, who would have thought that would happen. When was the last time you sang along with the music in the store or elevator. Maybe now is a good time to start. How can you stay gloomy when singing Jingle Bells?

But, Christmas is about the Christ child and his birth. So when I see a Nativity, my heart softens a bit, and when I see the lovely lights on houses reminding us of the star of Bethlehem, I get that lurch in my heart that makes me feel peaceful. As I drive through my neighborhood at night, and I see the Christmas trees in windows, and the care with which the decorations are place on the houses and in the yard, I get a bit nostalgic. I remember all the years we spent without Christ in Christmas in my family, and I remember the way I felt after finding Christ and bringing him into my life. Christmas is much more meaningful to me now. It has purpose beyond presents and food. It is all about sacrifice, and eternal life now that I understand why I am here and what my purpose is all about.

So get out of your miserly puddle, take a deep breath, and start singing Jingle Bells. It is CHRISTMAS, a time to let go of the unhappy things in your life, set aside the worries and woes, and simply BE so that you can soak up the love, the joy, and the peace that comes this time of year.

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driving I-40


In the past three days, I drove on Interstate 40 for 14 hours through three states. Seven hours each way to my son’s house to take Nick home. I am a exhausted.

First of all, it is flat in Eastern Arkansas. Like a pancake flat. For miles and miles and miles, all you see is one ugly winter field after another. On the road, all you see for miles and miles an miles is one ugly semi truck after another, along with people who lose their minds when they get on the road.

You know the type, they all drive ten or fifteen miles an hour above the speed limit, whipping in and out of lanes like they are driving the Indianapolis 500, and their favorite gesture requires the use of one finger. Tailgating is to the point that their grill is so close to the back of the car in front of them, that the driver of the car can’t see anything else. Road rage takes on a whole new meaning if someone dares to get in front of them and they aren’t going as fast as the driver behind them thinks they should. Car, truck, semi, doesn’t matter, the road hog wants to take on all of them just to get up the road a few minutes earlier so they can be slowed down again by the next line of trucks and cars.

The wind blows in Easter Arkansas and in Oklahoma. Hard. It blows from the north or south, never from the east or west. So the driver spends a good portion of his or her energy keeping the darned car on the road instead of letting the wind blow the car off into the ditch or center median. And the radio may work, but getting any station besides some farm report or Mexican music isn’t easy. Even the FM stations seem limited to rap or hiphop or ten different genre of Country music. Note to self: NEVER forget the MP3 player again!!! Although, after a while the Mexican music can grow on you. . .

I have had boring six hour days before, but these past few days of driving were given shots of pure adrenalin when some moron would run up behind me at 90 miles and hour (I was doing about 80 to pass the semi’s at times) ride close enough to me to touch my bumper with theirs and honk, flash lights, and scream and cuss (I guess, from the mouth going as fast as the car) when I wouldn’t move over. Not that I could with 12 trucks in a row to the right of me and one in front who slowed down to 60 MPH. What was I supposed to do, drive under the semi to get out of the way? Like it would do him any good. The idiot went around me on the grass median at about 70 MPH. Ten miles down the road, I caught up with him because three big semi’s had penned him in. Boy was he ticked. I was a bit annoyed to slow down to 60, but it was satisfying to see the trucks stop him from driving like a bully.

I am going to have a few magnetic bumper stickers made for my car.

“Tailgaters are bullies with wheels.”

“I slow down for tailgaters.”

“If you tailgate, you will need:
Very good reflexes
Very good brakes
Very good lawyers”

I LOATH road bullies . . . and I hate windy roads, and I really hate flat boring countryside. . . really.

Family


I think being a night person is genetic. Poor Nick seems to suffer the same affliction I do, in that the world doesn’t work on our schedules. This morning he came dragging into the living room around eleven. He climbed up on the sofa, heaved a huge sigh, scratched his head and looked around blearily, then said, “Well, I guess I am awake now” in the most disgusted voice I have ever heard a four year old use.

Then, later in the day, we were watching Polar Express for the umpteenth time since he got here, and I was starting to doze off. He wiggled over closer to me, pulled the blanket up, and said, “Go ahead Nana, take a little nap, I will watch over you.” When I looked down at him about three minutes later, he was sound asleep. So I napped too. When I woke up, he was staring intently at my face, and the second I opened my eyes, he said, “See Nana, I watched over you.”

It is lovely being a Nana. It is also tiring. But you know, I just want to make memories for my grandchildren that they will remember all their lives. Nick may not remember the particulars of each visit he has here when he grows up, but he will remember the love, and the fun we had. Maybe he will remember our chats, and all the stories he gets told at bedtime. And, when he is a Papa, maybe he will tell them to his grandchildren too.

Continuity in family is a blessing, traditions are a comfort, and love is never ending when you are a grandparent.