Sunday, November 29, 2015

Wow! A recent headline in the Concord Monitor said that “U. S. shoppers are losing their holiday spirit”. I wonder why.
1)      Is it because greed seems to have replaced the generosity, good humor, love and hope that used to be the emotional drivers behind the season?
2)      Are we becoming so stressed during this season that instead of the “Christmas” spirit, many are being infused with the beginnings of a nervous breakdown?
3)      Perhaps it is having to deal with the “scolds” who are everywhere telling us: a) Christmas foods should be replaced with kale, b) The sweet smell of a real tree should be buried under the smooth plastic of an artificial tree from Macy’s, c) the sounds of Christmas carols are offensive and should be taken off public airwaves, d) make sure you get a permit before you roast any chestnuts on an open fire, and e) stop offending people by wishing them a Merry Christmas.
4)      Maybe it is that many churches don’t seem like such a welcoming place anymore and you can’t come out of a service filled with the joy that used to accompany those visits. Instead you too often get a dose of political propaganda that leaves you more upset than when you entered.
5)      Or possibly you are discouraged by the constant assault from the courts telling you to stop referring to Christmas, the baby Jesus or anything else that has to do with the religious part of this religious holiday if you are on public property or in a public place where non-believers could be offended. (And yes there is always someone out there who is offended by everything.)
6)      Finally if it is strictly the shopping that has gotten you down, perhaps it isn’t fun anymore. The following may be some of the reasons for that: There isn’t much joy in using the internet, although it is fast and it keeps you from having to interact with real people. The stores and communities don’t spend as much time on Christmas (sorry) holiday decorations. Mostly now it seems like fake snow and candy canes. So that isn’t something to take the kids to see. And the Santa thing has been done to death. Too many bad Santas and bad TV that leaves the kids with no sense of wonder. And finding the good humor and courtesy that was once a part of the season now is such a rarity that finding “an honest man” may be an easier search.

Let’s face it, the “holiday spirit” has gradually been sucked out of the atmosphere. It has gone the way of the nuclear family, apple pie, knowing your neighbors, and good manners. And the season is now just an extended period for businesses to sell stuff…sort of President’s Day on steroids.

For a few of us, however, as we hide in our basements among our Christmas ornaments and manger scenes, there is still a little of the old Christmas spirit in our souls. For you who hide there with me, I share “Christmas Day” (Riding in Boxcars, 2006) and wish you that much criticized greeting, Merry Christmas! For those of you whom I have offended, I should warn you that later in this month I will be featuring another Christmas poem, so be warned.

Glenn K. Currie

                             Christmas Day

We gather together,
For lost childhoods
And home work undone.
Eating from platters
Shared for decades
With those now framed
In old photographs.

We gather together,
Mixing meals,
In cultural blenders
Prepared for young and old.
Traditions traded
Like baseball cards.
Bringing new treasures.

We gather together,
Tied by red ribbons,
Strung on family trees.
Children receiving the gifts,
Handed down
Through generations.
Brightly wrapped,
Or given in a smile.

We gather together,
Singing ancient carols
Of spiritual renewal.
Ends and beginnings,
In the promise,
This day born.

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