Adapting to future needs.

Recovering Christmas

John Grisham wrote a book called JUMPING CHRISTMAS. Amazon.com

reports: “John Grisham takes a satirical look at the exaggerated

ritual of the festive season, and the result is Skipping

Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of

December 25th …. “

My friend Dessa Byrd Reed, author of the poetry books THE BUTTERFLY TOUCH and SEVEN BRIDGES, prefers non-traditional vacations. She wrote in THE DESERT WOMAN that as a widow, she often spends time with her friends on vacation, takes trips, or just goes out to eat at Christmas (not necessarily turkey). It’s easy to see why, especially if you grew up with traditional Christmas expectations of warmth, family, and generally expressions of faith. Christmas is under attack in this country. I think it was my AP Government class from high school that asked us about cases involving the removal of Nativity scenes from public places. At the risk of revealing my advanced age of 32, that was in 1990.

We first had a tendency to say Christmas for Christmas. Later

Christmas sales started long before Halloween. Now him

the holiday season is more about partying, overeating and drinking,

and commercialism that express spirituality, in particular

and especially the Christian faith.

Secularists are not very fond of the church, either because of

parents who used religion as an excuse to be too strict

disciplines (or hatred and prejudice), drug trips in the 60s or bigotry (never mind that Christ welcomed them all). This secular attitude received a wonderful treatment in a recent episode of “Jack & Bobby” co-created by best-selling author and friend Brad Meltzer.

When we try to expel Christ from a festival that bears his name, our

society has a problem.

What has been the result of using the euphemism “vacation” and

banning the Nativity? Congress may not be making any laws about

the free expression of religion, but the confidence of elite brains is

acting like the Church of England kicking out the Puritans.

What’s the score? Shocks for religion. Vacation depression.

Loneliness during vacations, especially in nursing homes.


What is lost along the way? The spirit of giving. Warmth and

compassion. Communion with family, friends and neighbors. AND

yes, that annoying expression of faith that secularists in the distant

let him moan. Have you ever noticed that when it comes to your freedom?

expression of faith or lack thereof, scream “racism” or

“[fill in the blank] phobia “whenever Bill O’Reilly or someone

that is why he dares to pray or remind them that there is a God

beyond your ideology? Christians Accused of Proselytizing

but feel free to give a lecture on what it is and what it is not

offensive today. They mock President George Bush for his faith,

and Senator John Kerry, a Roman Catholic, seems to have his

habitual difficulty sticking to a point on thorny social issues.

No wonder the conventional wisdom has always been not to argue

religion and politics, and for God’s sake don’t mix

the two of us (even if it happens over and over again), and we’re going to

they all get along and sing Christmas carols at Christmas.

People seem to rebel. The success of “Passion of

the Christ “, the Da Vinci Code and the Left Behind series, as

as well as “Joan of Arcadia”, “Seventh Heaven” and “Touched by a

Angel “indicates a movement in popular culture.

Instead of skipping Christmas, let’s take Christmas back in our

homes and families. Unless members of your family and friends

Orthodox Jews or Muslims, you can celebrate Christmas with them.

After all, Judaism and Islam recognize Jesus Christ as a

prophet. Every religion celebrates the spirit of giving, from

Kabbalah to Hinduism. We all agree that we also have too many things

too much food (as our overweight society shows), too much alcohol,

very little kindness, patience and respect. We all want

connection, love, belonging and a place in the manger.

Top ten tips to get your Christmas back:

1) Make homemade gifts. Skip the malls. you do not have to be

Martha Stewart to give some heart.

2) Invite friends or family over for dinner instead of trying to give expensive gifts that no one uses anyway.

3) Don’t roll your eyes when someone says to you: “Peace on earth, good will towards men.” And for the love of Goddess, don’t use the “men” part to launch an anti-masculine spiel.

4) Whatever your faith, speak up and say that attacking Christians (or of any kind) offends you, especially during the Christmas season.

5) Get together with friends and family and make care packages for homeless shelters, nursing homes, etc. Make that your gift to each other.

6) Call those friends or family with whom you normally avoid talking.

Hearing about your former college roommate’s third marriage might

it doesn’t thrill you, especially since you can’t pronounce a word in

in common sense, but it is a good way to give of your time, something that

Everyone feels we don’t have enough, but we make friends anyway.

7) If you’re dying to cook that turkey dinner but your parents or mother-in-law insist on doing it HIS way, give up. This is not a “me, me, me” moment.

8) Rent or watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. Linus’ recitation of the Bible and the band’s rendition of “Hark the Herald Angels Sing” might make even Scrooge smile. And even Lucy van Pelt admits: “Charlie Brown is a fool, but he got a nice tree.”

9) Take a quiet moment to think, meditate and yes, pray. Consider it the mental vacation to Tahiti that you can’t take because the family has camped out at your home.

10) Appreciate your children’s gifts, especially homemade macaroni decorations. The first Christmas present was a


We have reclaimed our streets. We have recovered the night.

Let’s get back to Christmas and we won’t have to skip it.

But if you feel like skipping Christmas to restore your

faith, do it. The gift of a less stressed grumpy person

around the holidays is priceless.

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