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The very best part of Christmas
Oak Lawn (IL) Reporter ^ | 12/12/02 | Michael M. Bates

Posted on 12/10/2002 5:16:46 AM PST by mikeb704

There’s a direct connection between one’s age and how soon Christmas gets here. For children, it’s excruciatingly slow in arriving. The week before Christmas is the longest time of the year. Little wonder so many succumb to the temptation of cracking open a gift or two and oh-so-carefully rewrapping them.

For adults, Christmas comes much too soon. There’s not enough time, and at the last minute we remember something we should have done but now it’s too late and we pledge to be better organized next year. For most of us, this is an annual vow.

I’m one of those curmudgeons who believe that Christmas has become much too commercial. Many of us have bought into the buy, buy, buy mentality that permeates the season. The emphasis on getting the absolutely, positively perfect gifts for every person on our list is unadulterated humbug.

From Labor Day on we’re barraged with messages telling us to hurry up before it’s too late. Make those purchases now or there won’t be anything good left. Your relatives and friends will recognize you for the unloving wretch you really are.

Cost is so important. If we don’t spend enough, it might be interpreted as a sign we don’t really care. Yet the truth is that it’s likely our recipients won’t even remember what we gave them by the time the charge card bill hits our mailbox.

Long after the gifts we’ve given and received no longer work or are discarded or just forgotten, the very best part of Christmas remains. That includes the memories of last Christmas and all the others we’ve celebrated in our lives. For many, our earliest Christmases provide the warmest remembrances.

There are the colors. The bright lights and shimmering ornaments on a tree. Silver and gold tinsel. Gifts wrapped in festive greens and reds and adorned with satiny bows. Outdoor decorations with the Nativity scene, Santa, Rudolph and Frosty and toy soldiers. The glistening whiteness of softly falling snow.

There are the sounds of Christmas. Adeste Fideles, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town, I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas, and Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire, which is really titled the Christmas Song, but is better known by its opening line. Ringing bells. The crunch of snow under our feet. Giggling children. Paper crumpling as presents are opened.

There are the smells of Christmas. A refreshing pine aroma. Cookies and pies baking in the oven. The fragrance of hot chocolate. And eggnog. And hot cider with a stick of cinnamon in it. The scent of burning candles. Peppermint.

There are the people of Christmas. The huge throng at the mall. Strangers you greet or at least smile at. People who you generally only see once a year at a holiday party. Family and friends – some still here and some not – with whom you’ve celebrated past Christmases.

This last group is the one that makes the memories. Memories of laughter and hugs and love and the comfort of being where you really belong.

They’re what make us feel warm. Loved. Understood. Appreciated. Accepted.

These are what make life worth living. And life – eternal life – is the very best part of Christmas.

Eternal life is offered to us through the birth of Jesus Christ. According to St. Augustine, "God became man so that man might become God."

This is the infinite love the Creator has for every single human being. This is the ultimate gift that gives us the Reason for the season.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; US: Illinois
KEYWORDS: colors; eternallife; gifts; memories; smells; sounds

1 posted on 12/10/2002 5:16:46 AM PST by mikeb704
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To: mikeb704
Merry Christmas
2 posted on 12/10/2002 5:27:06 AM PST by TxBec
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To: TxBec
Thanks, and the same to you!
3 posted on 12/10/2002 6:37:34 AM PST by mikeb704
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To: mikeb704
Excellent work as usual...which reminds me, I haven't been to your side of the swamp in a couple of days!
4 posted on 12/10/2002 6:41:10 AM PST by ErnBatavia
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To: ErnBatavia
Hey, Barry. A Happy Christmas to you and yours.
5 posted on 12/10/2002 9:06:50 AM PST by mikeb704
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