Merry Christmas

Once again it is the Christmas season, a day all Christians celebrate with joy, family, giving, feasting, and laughter. For most of us, the carols played bring a feeling that makes us take a second to sing along, or simply contemplate the meaning of the lyrics.

For those suffering loss, monetary difficulties, or loneliness, it is much harder to find peace in the season. Reach out to those who are in the same situation, band together, and find friendship among those who suffer, you might be the answer to a prayer, or you may be the very person they need to hug them and tell them they are a blessing to you. Even those with everything often stand alone and in loneliness.

My basket is full of family. I am supremely blessed with all the love I have around me beginning with my beloved husband, right down to my youngest great grandchild. This year we got to spend four whole days with two of the grandchildren, and my son and daughter in law will be here through New Years. We will have a family dinner with three generations, four if my mother decides to join us. And when we roll away from the table, the Nerf Wars will commence, filling the house with laughter. How can I not feel joy with a family like mine?

Anyone who knows me well, knows I am crazy about Christmas and decorate our home inside and out with lights and beautiful things. But I never forget the reason for the season, the birth of the Christ child who changed the world for all of us. Among all my beautiful decorations are no less than seven Nativity sets in everything from simple plastic to fragile china. Lovely in their simplicity, moving in their spiritual meaning. as I set them up each year, I pause to remember what the meaning of each piece means. Each Nativity set has a story of when and where I obtained it, and those stories often make me cry with the memories of days past. Not in sorrow, no I cry because I miss the people who have gone out of our lives since then. But no matter how much my life has changed, one thing never does, and that is the love that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have for me and all those that I love.

As we feast, celebrate, and enjoy the Christmas season, look around at the loved ones in your presence, and remember that they are first and foremost a Child of God. Some may stray from the path, some may get lost in the darkness of the world, but they all deserve to be loved for the small spark of sacredness within their souls.
May you all have a blessed and happy Christmas. Allow joy into your hearts and soul. Laugh out loud, hug someone, give of your happiness, and share your bounty, be it small or large. Blessed be one and all. Merry Christmas.

No Tech Christmas

It occurred to me, oh, several months ago, as I was organizing my Christmas list, that I wanted to give my grandchildren vintage toys. Well, remakes of vintage toys, the originals are far too pricey. I wanted them to have a Christmas where nothing they received from my husband and I needed a battery, cable, or plug in. It seems that we have overwhelmed our kids with things that beep, flash, talk, and require constant attention. It was time to get back to basics.

For my nine year old grandson, there were a set of stilts, modern and better made, but stilts, nonetheless. A honest to goodness wooden yoyo along with a trick book just like they had in the 1950’s, along with crazy straws, paddle balls, a board game, several joke books, and the Dangerous Book for Boys. I added a science project about gross things, and treats. Not one thing required any sort of power except boy power. He loved everything, and was working to master the yoyo when they went home.

For my six year old granddaughter, we got an art set. A real, honest to goodness set with everything from paints to pencils and everything to go with it. She is really into drawing and such. Several coloring books joined the set, along with lots and lots of paper. She also go the crazy straws and paddle balls, but girl stuff too, like a pair of shoes and an out fit. She got the Daring Book for Girls, that matched Nick’s for boys. And hair pretties along with a grooming kit. Nothing needed power other than the power of a girl. She was over the moon, and spent hours drawing.

And our little Addie? Her favorite toys is a small felt dolly I picked up for a buck at the dollar store. Who would have though!? We also got her a tent to play in, and to help corral her when we need to have our hands free for something. She loves that too, along with the drum, and soft toys she got. She was really having more fun with with the paper and boxes than anything.

It is easy to go on line and pick out things that beep and buzz for kids. It is much harder to think of the way their minds work and come up with innovative ways to entertain them. It is easy to let a machine entertain them, but it is, in my opinion, to encourage them to explore, invent, create, and study the world around them. Making them the center of the play, not the machine, will stretch their minds, help them create, and encourage exploration in all manners of topics.

Next year is going to be a challenge, but I am already doing research, and I expect something will come to mind. Like Jax and a jump rope for Bella, and some sort of cool science experiment for Nick. I’m thinking mad scientist, cool stuff. Addie will be easy, everything from toys to clothes . . . and boxes and paper.

I love being a Nana.

A Child’s Laughter

Last night was shopping at Walmart (Yes, I shop there, get over it if you object.), and while meandering through the grocery area, I heard a child laughing full out in a belly laugh. I walked to the end of the aisle, and a little girl about three years old was with her Daddy. I don’t know what he was telling her, but she was howling with laughter. Those happy, bright notes of pleasure had an astounding effect on everyone within ear shot.

Grumpy shoppers, worn out and tired, bogged down at the end of the day, were busy taking care of their business and avoiding eye contact with anyone else. We were all shuffling along, automatons filling our shopping baskets, not a smile amongst us. But, when that little girl started laughing out loud, heads came up. People paused and listened. Some went to see what was going on, others just stood where they were. Slowly, smiles appeared. People started looking each other in the eye, small comments were shared, and everyone felt the world lighten around them.

While I watched the little girl and her dad walk away, totally unaware of the joy they were bringing to all of us around them, I thought that there was nothing sweeter than the laughter of a child. It quite brought back a bit of Christmas Spirit to my sad soul. Bless you little girl, whoever you are, and wherever you are. And Bless you, her Daddy, who loves your child so much and knows how to make her joyful. girl with margarites in her hair

It is Christmas, damn it!

So, here we are again at that time of year when we are supposed to be filled with love, peace, and harmony – celebrating the birth of one of the best loved men in the world and beyond. Right. Sure. At least that is how it was when I was a kid, and when my children were small. Not today.

Today we have the progressive left, atheists, and general whiners and moaners who try to stand in the way of Christians celebrating one of their most important HOLY DAYS. Christmas, people, is a Holy Day for Christians. Yes, I know, it is also the celebration of Hanukkah for the Jewish people. It is also the winter festival for tree huggers, pagans, and people who like to dance naked around a bonfire. Fine, wonderful for them too! A Holy Day that is sacred to so many is something to enjoy.

Not Christians, however. We aren’t supposed to be allowed to have a Holy Day. No celebrating in our traditional ways that have come from all corners of the world along with early immigrants. Nope, not according to atheists, who worship non religion more fervently than most people who profess to be religious – no matter their faith. No celebration for Christians according to the progressive left, because someone, (THEM), just might be offended by the American traditions of celebrating a religions HOLY DAY.

However, having a secular day of celebration with Santa Claus and presents is fine. But no Christmas tree, it must be called, instead, a holiday tree. Holiday tree? But that has the words HOLY DAY in it, and therefore can be construed as religious. Still, those that hate Christians can go with the holiday theme, as long as it stays secular.

If a town has traditionally put up a manger with Joseph and Mary, and the usual cast from the story of the birth of Jesus found in the New Testament, in the book of Luke, the secular anti Christian people have a tantrum, file law suits, and insist that it be removed because it might be insulting to some. Yet, no one complains about a menorah, being placed in the town center, or pagans doing their dances, or Muslims, Hindus, or Buddhists doing what ever it is they do for this season. So why the war on Christians?

The Constitution says nothing about separation of Church and State only that there will be no state religion. Try telling that to an atheist or secular progressive wonk. American was founded by Christians. It was settled by Christians. The very fiber of America comes from a solid base in law and morals of Christianity. Granted, the Indians were here first. But even they had strong religious beliefs that often mesh with Judeo-Christian philosophies. But there is still a war on Christians.

It is bad to be religious, it is bad to have our beliefs displayed by having a Christmas Tree, bright lights, candy canes, gifts for our loved ones, and a feast to remind us all of the feast of words from the Scriptures. But, you see, for Christians, it is what we do to celebrate our Holy Day. So, we are under siege to forget our traditions, forget our religion, forget the meaning behind all we do at this time of year, and simply go with the Santa Claus theme.

Sorry, folks, but in my house, it is CHRISTMAS, damn it. And that is what it will always be. If you don’t want to be part of the Holy Day as we celebrate it, more power to you. Don’t celebrate as I do, do your own thing, or not, as you choose. However, I have the same right to do as I wish.

Without Christians, and Christmas, there probably wouldn’t even BE a holiday this time of year across the world. December 25th would be just another dreary winter day, or summer day if you live at the bottom of the world, without meaning or great value. Now wouldn’t that be miserable? Instead the world has the joy of Christmas, (or secular holiday), to lighten our lives for a few minutes.
It used to be that Christmas was just a simple day of prayer and worship for Christians. Then the pagan feasting and other traditions were added, followed by gift giving, Christmas trees from Germany, and Sinter Klaus from Holland, nativities from Italy, songs from all over the world, right up to modern lights and decorations. But, at the end of the day, it is still a day for prayer and worship, and remembrance of the baby that was born who changed the world – and died for our sins.

It is CHRISTMAS, a time to count our blessings, love one another, forgive one another, and let one another celebrate as their beliefs dictate. May God Bless and Keep you, each and every one. Because it is CHRISTMAS, damn it!

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.