Yes, before it was illegal....I LOVED Christmas. Perhaps for the WRONG reasons.... ALL I really knew was that Santa sure LOVED me.... and he perfectly demonstrated it with the many wrapped boxes of all my fondest wishes beneath that the twinkling lights on that aromatic pine tree.
EVEN AFTER the thought of myself being the proud owner of a “Vac U Form”, or a “Creepy Crawler, THINGMAKER” had lost it’s allure...I still found myself hypnotized by the seasonal decor, the glowing lights, and even more compelling, the glowing HEARTS that ONLY seemed to be energized at this time of the year. SOMEHOW....regardless of people’s beliefs, there was an honest to goodness display of “good will toward men” and a rare joy that dominated the Christmas holidays. That was long before it became a CRIME to wish another a “Merry Christmas”.
BUT as warm as the Christmas fires glowed on these jolly days, there was what seemed to be an equal and opposite chill that followed the New Year. Smiles seemed to instantly turn to scowls as we tore down another calendar and faced another 365 days of drudgery. And Christmas cheer evaporated as the scents of chestnuts roasting on an open fire gave way to the stale vapors of the peanut butter and jelly monotony of routine and status quo.
Ahhh... as much as Christmas was a total GAS... It seemed the end of the season was nothing but a drag.... It was a stark contrast. I wish the kids of today could experience the joys of an old fashioned Christmastime. It was so much better than the “winter holiday” of today. Believe it or not kids...there was a time when a manger scene was NOT an abomination to our great American way of life...but could even be found in schools...and no I’m not kidding....on the lawns of city hall! I’m not joking when I tell you I recall hearing “Away in a Manger” sang without protest at a school assembly! No...REALLY!
The music, the decorations and the happy spirit of Christmas were prevalent EVERYWHERE. Christians, Jews, Muslims, ALL made it through the season without conflict. Santa coexisted with the birth of our Lord, and no one had a problem with following “God Bless Ye Merry Gentlemen” with a rousing chorus of “Jingle Bells”. It was ALL good.... to the best of my recollection.
But, especially in those golden days of my youth... there was always the big COMEDOWN after Christmas. I often wondered WHY we couldn’t sustain that atmosphere and attitude of joyful giving, kindness and good will throughout the year. Isn’t there SOME WAY that our light spirited rejoicing of Christmas could penetrate the new years barrier and carry that wonderful (albeit FELONIOUS) Christmas joy into our living ALL year long?
Hmmm....you know what? As cool as Santa was.... he surely couldn’t keep delivering those goods all year long and still keep on “Ho Ho” ing much past mid February. Pretty soon he’d be spending mornings holding a sign on the freeway ramp, afternoons at the food bank, and evenings at the shelter. BUT.... there IS one who is FAR more resourceful, that truly CAN keep giving ALL YEAR LONG.
The one whom we HONOR at Christmas time....without whom it would simply be “Mas” instead of CHRISTmas... he’s got a whole fresh new bag of goodies for you EVERY day of the year. It’s not just a one time gift of eternal life. It’s a daily bounty of whatever health, whatever prosperity, whatever thrills and warms your heart on this particular day... Jesus NEVER stops giving. Anything good that comes your way, if you could find the gift tag, I’m SURE it would read, “SPECIALLY for YOU....just because.....-LOVE, Jesus”
And indeed it IS just because. if you’ve accepted Him into your heart....He loves you.... no strings attached. When you fall.... He’s ready to receive you back into His good grace again, ANOTHER present under your daily tree: “His mercies are fresh each morning”.
To God, every day IS Christmas, and he can’t wait to bring out the presents to his excited little children, like you....AND me. Sometimes, we even forget to stop and say “thank you”. But He STILL loves you...and is still busy wrapping up the next day’s presents for you!
You don’t have to EARN it....BUT, if you REALLY want to leave Him a little platter of cookies and a glass of milk, HERE’S what you might do.....
Treat OTHERS the way you would want to be treated. Forgive, as He’s forgiven you. Don’t judge, as you really don’t like others judging you, do you? In essence, go easy on, and be kind to people. Sing a song or a carol to the God who made it possible. Be transparent to the Lord and allow him to grow your spirit and let His string of lights shine through you.... Kind of like we might do around Christmas.... Hey, you know what...? If I did that EVERYDAY...and YOU did that -ALL THE TIME....no matter WHAT time of year it is....”It’s beginning to look a LOT like CHRISTMAS....”
So, while OFFICIALLY extending the Christmas season to last all year may be impractical, and possibly quite illegal, we DO have the opportunity to sustain our INDIVIDUAL celebrations of our Savior’s birth all throughout the year. But, if you do....for the sake of your public image, by the time the end of January rolls around, PLEASE....Lose that funky red and white SANTA CAP!