by CharlesRobey
(Trussville, AL USA)

"Our mouths were filled with laughter, our tongues with songs of joy. Then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy." (Psalm 126:2-3)

Well, Christmas is upon us again. Seems like only yesterday when we were celebrating the sounds and joy of the last Christmas season. Now, its time to be jolly all over again.

It is a time of ornaments, red and green decorations, silver bells, holly, mistletoe and colored lights, a time to venture out in the rain or snow and pick out that "just right" Christmas tree. And of course, it's a time to untangle that large ball of Christmas tree lights that you hurried to pack away last year.

It's a time to digest that traditional fruit cake and eggnog. If these customary conventional goodies won't get you in the holiday mood, I don't know what will.

It is also a time for that universal mantra, "Ho Ho Ho!" to ring out in our stores and throughout the land. And along with this anthem, comes the same old traditional greeting, "Merry Christmas!" whether the greeter is known or not, an enemy or friend. It's the season, you know.

And as my cynical, disbelieving next door neighbor always says when he sees me trim my outdoor tree, "Santa has the right idea, like visiting people only once a year."

So are you ready this year? Have you done your customary last minute shopping at your local big box toy store? What a hassle, you may say. Nothing new, however, you always say that, this time of the year. Fighting those boisterous shopping crowds is the American way. Simply by mouthing out that famous cliché of "HoHoHo, Tis the season to be jolly" or taking on the character of old Ebenezer Scrooge and shouting out the infamous "Bah humbug," it's a time to be jolly again.

So, let's get on with it, the Christmas joy that is. First, there's Johnny's bike to assemble. Where are those instructions? Never mind, the back tire was left out of the box. I'll just call the store. I know they will understand and be ready to help. Oops, the store is closed.

Next comes Sally's new doll. I know it will be okay. Don't tell me. A one-eyed doll. What will I do now? I can't exchange the doll as it came from the same closed store. Christmas, Bah, Humbug!

I can just hear the wife now, "You weren't much of a Boy Scout, were you? Why in Heaven's name did you not check those toys beforehand?" Why she always brings Heaven into the mix when she's upset, I'll never know. Anyway, it's too late now to argue. I must go out, hopeful of finding a store keeping late hours.

Does this scenario seem familiar? If so, do you still have that Christmas spirit? But wait a minute, just what is the Christmas Spirit? I suppose it depends on the individual. To old Scrooge, the Christmas spirit was three ghosts. To the adult beverage industry, the Christmas spirit always comes in a bottle. Others feel the Christmas spirit is a time of make-up with family. While still others feel the Christmas spirit should be expressed in a card that has no intrinsic meaning to the sender, other than the cost displayed on the back of the card. So, do you have that Christmas spirit satisfaction? Do you feel that gratification deep within your soul?

Growing up, Dad often defined the Christmas spirit contentment as that age-old feeling of being satisfied when you settled for a substitute, after not getting what you wanted from Santa. You see, times were tough. I just knew, given that I was on Santa's 'nice list,' I would surely get that two gun Roy Rogers set with the silver spurs. Boy, what a cop-out! Bah Humbug! And I still remember hanging one of Mom's old silk stockings on the mantle, so as to get more. And don't forget the grown-up attitude of happiness, found in the stomach enhancement of turkey, dressing and all the trimmings. For us kids, that too was a cop-out.

If you are still confused about the Christmas spirit, just look around you. The spirit of Christmas must be in giving, if the shopping malls and the mail is any indicator. Giving is fine, as I'm no Scrooge. But the giving still seems to leave a certain void, within that counterfeit Christmas spirit of mine. Don't get me wrong, I always put my pocket change in that traditional red kettle.

So, let us get to the truth of the matter. What is the true spirit of Christmas? Is it parties, is it the fellowship of family and friends? Is it giving? Well, maybe a little of all. However, without that true spirit of love, love for our family and love for our fellow man, all the false concepts of giving are of no avail. Simply put, what we need is that true "Old Fashioned" Christmas. We hark back to a time when Christmas had its true meaning, not just a holiday wave in passing.

Yes, we all can turn Christmas "bah humbug" into a time of true "Ho Ho Ho," rather than a time of "Hum Hum Hum." So, go for it, it's not too late to show your love. It's not too late for that "Old Fashioned Christmas".

Dear Lord, let me be a child again, just for today. Just to turn back the clock to those happy years of yesterday, a time of the simple way of life. Let me regain a life chock full of joy and happiness, a time when my young mind would drift off into that happy dream world of make believe.



I must confess, "A Christmas Carol" is among the traditional must-see movies at our house along with such other movies as Christmas Vacation. Why all the appalling non-Christmas Spirit flicks? Well, along with being dreadfully entertaining, these movies just go to show the other side of the track, so to speak. And somehow, they always seem to take us from our traditional seasonal depression to that of wishful thinking and cause us to jump out of our dreams into reality.

So be careful. Don't take on this dubious psychology: “Once again, we come to the Holiday Season, a deeply religious time that each of us observes, in his own way, by going to the mall of his choice.”

Please, let your conscience be your guide, and morph into the right frame of mind, the right "Christmas Spirit," the spirit of worshiping the true meaning of Christmas. Amen!

"And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:10-11)

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