Get in the spirit

On the way to Church Sunday morning, the first Advent Sunday, I had to make a stop at the mail box so my wife could put her annual bale of Christmas cards into the mail. They are sent far and wide from here.

I am sitting here now looking out the bunker’s only window. I have a terrific view of the porch rail that runs the length of the sidewalk out to the driveway. I am watching rain drip from the Christmas garland I put along that rail on Sunday afternoon when it was sunny. After two days of rain, it is starting to sag a little under the weight of the water. On the bright side, the lights have not shorted out and I do not live in Buffalo. Out in the yard in a place I cannot see from the bunker window is a nativity scene. It is homemade. My brother made it for me. It is cut from a pattern and locks together like a puzzle and each year I have to remember how the puzzle goes together.

Inside, I am allowed to put up the tree and make sure the lights work then I am exiled. I am not good at hanging ornaments. My wife does not understand that these things need to be organized by size and shape and spaced uniformly. After that little chat she tactfully tells me to take my Sergeant Major backside outside and uniformly hang the garland on the porch. I move out smartly.

I love Christmas. Back in the house, it appears my wife took ornaments by the handful and tossed them in the direction of the tree. And it is beautiful.

Last year my wife and I watched Last Ounce of Courage. The story is about a mayor of a small town a war hero himself who lost his only son in the war. He finally stands up against the people who want to remove Christmas from the public square. The story was about standing up for ones rights more than it was about Christmas. A decent story, but it was not a Christmas one. It put me in the mood to fight that war on Christmas we seem to hear about every year, but it did not do much to nudge me into the true Christmas spirit.

This year we watched the Kirk Cameron movie Saving Christmas. It was not about the “war” on Christmas or anything along that line. It was about Christmas. The symbolism explained as was the greatness of the event. I left the theater thinking how dreadful Christmas has become because some of us spend a lot of time angry with people who are at odds with what we believe. So much so that we allow them to choose our attitude for us and cause us to focus more attention on them than we do the reason for the season. Thanks to Mr. Cameron for pointing that out to me and for nudging me into the spirit. I do not intend to allow the negativity to steal the spirit from me this year.

Another thing I cannot figure out is black Friday. That appears to be the important day for many. If only we could muster that amount of enthusiasm toward Christmas day. Black Friday is about greed and self-indulgence. Is it not? What is civilized and good about people stampeding over one another in the middle of the night and then brawling over the last flat screen television.

Christmas is about letting your charitable side surface. It is about taking a turn ringing the bell at the Salvation Army Kettle. It is about when you feel like spending a couple of hundred dollars on a gizmo you probably do not need and instead buying a couple hundred dollars worth of food and donating it to one of your community’s Christmas food basket programs. Truth be known, most of us can afford to do both at least once each year. Or plucking a name from an Angel Tree and buying a coat and a toy for a child that might otherwise have neither. Have you ever made a Christmas jar? That’s when you commit to putting one dollar a day into a jar for the entire year beginning on Christmas Eve. Then when Christmas rolls around, you anonymously give the jar to a person in need or to a cause in need. I assure you it feels better than pulling your best WWF move at Wall Mart to get that last TV.

Merry Christmas. Find the spirit and let no one steer you away from it.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. – Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

© 2014 J. D. Pendry American Journal