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Cranky and ready for a real Christmas
DeAnn Reed
Antelope Staff

The holidays can make the most civil person turn into Ebenezer Scrooge. Live long enough and you begin to resent the ever-increasing commercialization of a holiday that wasn’t meant to be about us.

The other night my family and I watched Tim Allen in “Christmas with the Kranks.” Poor guy—he just couldn’t win. He didn’t want to celebrate Christmas like everyone else; he wanted to take his wife and head out on a Caribbean cruise. His neighbors, however, just wouldn’t leave him alone because they wanted him to comply with what they cherished most at Christmas—lawn decorations.

Why is it that the birth of Christ has somehow become the celebration of us? Instead, “Merry Christmas” becomes the politically correct “Happy Holidays” because we are so afraid of offending anyone who might not like the idea that Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s-MAS!

Okay look. Happy Holidays is still Happy Holi-Day! It doesn’t matter what you call it. Christmas was meant to focus on the birth of the Messiah. Believe or it not, Christmas isn’t about gifts. It’s about the Gift: a beautiful precious gift that was given with no regard to our standing, our position or even our class. And for that I am eternally thankful.

I love the Christmas story. I love it because it reminds me that the greatest things in life are often wrapped in the cloth of innocence. A child can change everything. As a parent, I remember holding each one of my children right after their birth and being reduced to sobs over their frail, sweet bodies and knowing what a failure of human being they would have for a mother. I was lost. Lost in the joy of knowing I couldn’t do it right and recognized that Mary probably thought the same. She had no clue of what the future held for her son, and like her, I don’t either.

I worry that my children will live in a world that will teach them that the value of life is all about them. And then one day when they have had the career they have always wanted: the car, the house and the two point five kids, they will hold in their arms the empty values that many have tried before and found wanting. The truth is, life isn’t found in the temporary trappings of this existence.

That’s why at Christmas it is so important to understand why and what this celebration means.

Christmas opens the door to hope and the truth about life. Christmas holds out to each of us that the way to find life, laughter and yes, joy is in sacrificing what is best for something better. Christmas is realizing that our vain attempts to buy that next gadget or toy won’t mean as much as the time we spent valuing people over possessions and eternity over the now.

I always ask my kids one question at Christmas time. What did we buy you last year? Seldom do they quickly come up with last year’s gift.  Shoot, sometimes they can’t even find it! Then I say, see that’s why gifts are so lame—they leave no lasting impression on what is important.

Perhaps, Mr. Krank had it right. He wanted to focus on his plan and treasure his most prized possession— his wife. He may have seemed like a selfish son of gun to his neighbors, but he wanted something different, something that he could cherish in the twilight years with his wife, his memories.

 “…And Mary cherished these things in her heart.” This season instead of cherishing gifts, let’s cherish what the season is really about. And in case you were wondering, it ain’t us!


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