Some Christmas Thoughts 2011


Christmas used to be so easy.

When I was a child growing up in a very small town, Christmas was simple.  Every year, we performed a Christmas musical, went caroling riding on a trailer filled with hay and sang at, pretty much, any house that had a light on.

After the annual choir performance, we went to either the Scott’s house (they were the only ones in town with a pool . . not much use in mid-December but still “wow” for me) or the Kiper’s for a party.  The refreshments and the aroma said “Christmas!” to me.

Even as I write this, I’m hesitant because it’s so easy to come off as some “back in my day” Grump.  Andy Rooney is no longer with us.

I like so many things about the time we live in.  I love the technology and I hate the technology.  I love it when it works and hate it when it lets me down.  Seems like the letdowns come when I really need the help the most.

Once a GPS voice, in the middle of Houston rush-hour traffic, told me “Exit Now” only to take me down a service road for a couple of miles, then tell me to “u turn”, then “re-enter the freeway.”  The same freeway I was on before.

This Christmas season, it’s the commercials that are wearing me down.  Not commercialism – we all know that’s coming and usually have the wherewithal to prepare for the onslaught – but the literal commercials.  I’ve taken to using the mute button a lot.

I don’t need much and I really, really don’t need Toyota to try and convince me to buy a new truck at midnight or 6 AM.

And I’m pretty happy with my cell phone. So stop it!

I guess the reason I still find all these intrusions so perplexing – and I realize there is nothing new here – Like I said, Andy Rooney covered most of it a long time ago – is that I simply wonder “Where is all this going to end?”

Will we eventually have television stations that are nothing but commercials?

(Uh, Hello . . .  Home Shopping Network?)

We drove to Dallas a few couple of weeks back to see Baylor play Texas Tech in the new Cowboy’s Stadium.  It was great to be there and watch the game.  But big time sports are not about the game anymore (especially nationally televised games).  It’s about TV.

If you’ve been to a live NFL or college game lately, you know what I’m talking about.  Play starts then play stops.  The players stand around waiting from the sign from the guy in a red jacket near the sideline.  This is TV Guy.  And play will NOT resume until TV Guy gives the sign.  It doesn’t matter if there is a rally, or if the crowd is crazy and cheering for their team.  If TV Guy says, “We will now sell deodorant” then sell deodorant we must.

I really don’t see how the athletes keep going.  There is absolutely no momentum.

In baseball, when the relief man comes to the mound to pitch, the announcers pitch for Rolaids . . . “now that’s how you spell relief.”  There’s actually a “Rolaids Relief Man of the Year” award.

I heard they’re contemplating putting ads on bases.

So where does it end?

It doesn’t end.  It won’t.  Without being fatalistic, this invasion is only gonna get worse.

So I have to end it.  You have to end it.

The outside world doesn’t even pretend to respect our privacy, our space, our faith.  I have to draw the boundaries.

You have to draw them.  Your children will soak up everything that’s thrown at ‘em.  It’s up to you to build in some walls, some safeguards.  Stand your ground and say (either out loud or to yourself) “You will not come any further!”

And no, I don’t think we have to retreat to shelters full of canned goods and ammo. The generator will eventually run out of gas, the food will all be eaten, you’d run out of bullets . . . and then what?

(Not to mention those pesky neighbors pounding on the door of your safe ,house, “Let us in, let us in!!!”  How are you going to deal with that?!?

God gave us so much.  It’s a wonderful time and a wonderful life.

Give Thanks.  Use some sense.  Be Kind and Generous.  You’ll stand out like a light on a reindeer’s nose.

Then smile and wish to all – with deepest, most heart-felt sincerity, without political agenda, and the voice of the Spirit of the Child born, buried and risen –


A Very Merry Christmas!