Keep Christ in Christmas

             Well, of course, Christ is in Christmas. We even spell, speak, advertise, use the word in our greeting, call it a holiday, send Christmas cards, and on and on. It seems like such superfluous conversation. It is the reason for the season, we say. We take Christmas vacations, except in some schools where they want to be politically correct and take winter breaks. We go over the river and through the woods to grandma’s house for Christmas dinner. We have Christmas Eve church services to celebrate the coming of the baby Jesus, our Christ of Christmas.

            We open our gifts according to family tradition. We celebrate the season with a Christmas tree and Christmas decorations. There are Christmas cookies and special Christmas recipes for Christmas candy. There is the much maligned and much loved fruit cake. And occasionally there is a birthday cake for the birthday person—Jesus of Nazareth. It is really a world-wide birthday celebration.

            Yes, it is embedded in everything that we do on December 25 each year. But perhaps that’s the problem. Where is the real meaning? Most of us know the story. We have heard it so many times. We have sung about the baby away in the manger. I’m certain many of us have donned the duds of the various components of the Christmas pageant. We have traversed from afar and carried the gold, incense, and myrrh to the cradle of the baby Jesus. We have seen the star in the East that led the way to the manger. And the herald angels sing in the choirs of the world each Christmas season.

            It is C-H-R-I-S-T-mas. It is the baby Jesus, born of the virgin Mary, we celebrate. Yes, it is the Son of God who came to Bethlehem that night. Would you be willing to be Joseph or Mary and carry out this incredible happening? But it had to be that way for the rest of our Christian heritage to unfold for us. The baby Jesus, the Son of God, had to be born in the way that he was to give us Easter. There had to be the Christ in Christmas who died on the Cross that we might live.

            Christ is in Christmas, no matter what some might want to do to take him out. We must make certain that when they take the manger scene from the city square, or substitute Happy Holidays for Merry Christmas,  change Christmas vacation to winter break, that each one of us who believes keeps Christ in Christmas.  Even when they teach fifth graders new versions of our beautiful Christmas carols to be politically correct and not offend anyone, we must keep Christ in Christmas everywhere we go and in everything that we do.

            I am not going to be tolerant about this issue; it is too important. Christ of Christmas is my guiding star, the star that lights my world. I will not be tolerant about this truth. I will fight to keep Christ in Christmas in every conceivable way that I can to remind us that Christ is the reason for the season. For those who claim otherwise: stop claiming the season.                

            

The Christmas Tree Finding Trek

       The sky across the valley was layered in reds and grays. The twin peaks and the outlines of the hills melted into the sky. On most days the silhouette of the peaks is etched against a blue California sky.  Red in the morning, sailor’s warning, my dad used say. Just maybe there would be a little rain to make the leaves of my avocado trees shiny and happy.  How many times when I was a little girl in Iowa did my dad look at the sky and expect snow?

            It’s almost Christmas. The snow is falling in massive amounts across n many places. When I watch the news and I talk to my relatives in Iowa, I remember. Angels in the snow. Snowball fights. Finding the perfect hill to try my new sled. And there was the special four-runner sled that my uncle made. Ice-skating on the frozen flooded baseball diamond. Or just a walk in the snow to hear the squeaky sound of the white mantle under foot and to watch your breath make pictures in the cold air.

            Then there was the trek for the perfect Christmas tree. There were no Christmas tree lots where I grew up. There was only the great God lot, the hills and slopes of the surrounding area. Can’t help but notice as I re-live the annual  tree-finding adventures of my childhood that my tree must doesn’t smell like the fragrance of the conifer we so proudly proclaimed as our Christmas tree. My tree is beautiful; someone just forgot to give it the fragrance of pine or cedar.

The Digital Generation Awakening

          Being cool is more than words, Mr. President. Being cool to young people is walking the talk. Most of the young people who voted for you did so because they really thought that you believed in them. All your attention to the college campus campaigns resonated with them. Hope and Change!! There is no group more interested in hope and change than the young in each generation.

          And then came Obamacare. They are accustomed to the digital world. That is where they grew up. That is where they spend a lot of their time. That is where they communicate, and they expect it to work. They know when something is wrong. They don’t return to a site that doesn’t serve them and serve them with integrity and speed. You entered their world, the world that when they buy something that is offered, they expect it to be delivered.

          Then you offered your legacy legislation to them with some of the greatest sales pitches ever delivered. All people in America would have health care; it was their right.

          But alas. These digital natives tried the product. The website didn’t work. They may have tried it more than once. These are young people who are accustomed to signing on, orderings products, and closing their transactions. Imagine their surprise when this most touted site was a farce. They know that millions and millions were spent of their tax money to build this monstrous failure.

          They don’t return to sites that do not work, and if they should miraculously get through and it doesn’t deliver, they don’t go back. This fiasco known as Obamacare belongs to you, Mr. President. Now they are wondering what other promises you have made that might not be true. They are not looking through the rose-colored glasses you manufactured through your rhetoric. They are looking through the lenses of truth, integrity, promises kept, and what their futures hold. They are checking out the hope and change stuff.

          They are looking at their pay checks. Many are looking at staggering college debt and no job to pay it or to live. They hear you say they should sign up for health care. If they are lucky enough to get into the site to check, they find the absurdity of your request. They are a charitable generation as is all generations, but none can pay for all the people who will get free health care nor the subsidies promised. They cannot pay for all the exemptions you have granted that raise their cost. They are struggling.

          Are you shocked, Mr. President, that they are leaving your tent of hope and change? You surely won’t be surprised to find that trust lost is very hard to regain.