Christmas Card Quandary - 12/11/13

     Let's face it, most of us gripe about the commercialization of Christmas year after year.   75% off, but only at 5am.  Shopping on Thanksgiving.  One more gift under the tree, even though everything's already crossed off  the list.  "Holiday" trees on the town square.  Blow-up ice-skating penguins on the lawn.  We gripe, yet we're the very ones who get drunk on the sales and circulars.  Myself included.
     I really wish we could go back to the way it used to be when times were much simpler.  Kids had a stocking... a real sock.  It was filled with fruit, nuts and maybe a trinket or two.  There was no TV,  Iphone, Ipad, Droid, laptop, tablet, billboard or any other screen flashing bargain basement ads at us 24/7.   People actually turned their attention solely to their families and the Son of God.   To stay focused on those two things now during the Christmas season takes uncanny focus and deliberate decision-making. 
      Take our Christmas card this year for example.  You'll see it below.  (Sorry, it's sideways, I can't get the pictures to rotate.)   Anyway, I got on a website and uploaded some fun photos.  It was really cold that day, I think around 28 degrees.  I was in the mood for warmth and used all warm weather pics.  Then I typed the text,
"Warm Christmas Wishes From (our family)"    I love the card, but when it came, my husband was a little disappointed.  In big bold print on the part of the card that was already pre-designed, it says Happy Holidays.  Don't get me wrong.  For some, that message is fitting and I respect that.  For our family, Merry Christmas is our mantra.  I had gotten so caught up in choosing the best pictures and making it flow with the colors of the card, that I chose a card that doesn't really reflect the reason for the season.  Granted, I did include text that said Warm Christmas Wishes...  and am now busy writing Merry Christmas on the backs of all the cards too to right this personal wrong.  It's worked out okay as this is giving me an opportunity to write personal messages on the backs.  However, the point is... I got caught up in the card and the colors and forgot for a split second about the Christ. 
      One thing we started about three years ago to help our family stay focused is a bucket countdown.  It hangs on the mantle in the office and each day the kids dig in the little bucket and pull out something that relates to the real reason for the season.  Sometimes, it's a craft... other times, it's a scavenger hunt... all of it built around Jesus' birth. 
       Then, there are the poignant remarks from our kids which serve to keep us focused.  My daughter said not too long ago, "Mom, why do they put decorations out for the holiday two holidays before the holiday?"   This gave me a good opportunity to have an open dialogue about the commercialization of Christmas in elementary kid terms.  I love that she noticed that and that it bugged her.  
         One time in class, my son told his teacher that we always bake a cake for Jesus' birthday and sing Happy Birthday.  He went on to explain, "... but he didn't show up, so we just ate it." 
          Merry Christmas everybody.   I'm glad God sent a human form of himself to help us Christians better understand and relate to what we should be striving for.  I'm also glad I live in a free country where if you don't celebrate Christmas, that's okay for you.  I respect your beliefs and thoughts and I thank you for respecting mine.

 

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Last Update on July 29, 2015 10:30 GMT

NYC DINER EN BLANC

NEW YORK (AP) -- The location was secret -- but not the dress code. Five-thousand people dressed in white got together for the world's largest popup picnic last night in New York. Guests for Diner en Blanc (dee-NEH' ahn BLAHN) -- French for dinner in white -- showed up at one of 24 designated spots where the secret venue was disclosed. It was dining and dancing under the open sky at Pier 26 in the toney Tribeca neighborhood. The white-glad diners brought what they wanted for a chic BYO, everything from food to silverware and candles. They also had to clean up after themselves. The phenomenon started in Paris in 1988 and has expanded to 60 cities on five continents.

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM-BEER

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- It could be just what the doctor ordered -- in 1865. The National Museum of Civil War Medicine has gotten the OK to sell souvenir beer. The Frederick County, Maryland, liquor board has approved brew for the museum's gift shop. But visitors won't be able to drink it there. The Frederick News-Post reports officials say the beer may not be opened on museum property. The museum's David Price says a partnership with Brewer's Alley has produced several specialty beers in the past, including Gettysburg Wheat.

MARIJUANA-EARLY SALES

SALEM, Ore. (AP) -- Stoners will have reason to celebrate in Oregon on October 1. Legal pot sales will begin then. Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill yesterday allowing existing medical marijuana dispensaries to temporarily sell the now-legal weed to all adults. Marijuana possession became legal under state law this month. But state regulators are still about a year away from approving licensed retail pot stores. Under the interim measure, people will be able to buy limited quantities of dried bud, seeds and plant starts, but not edibles.

COMPANY CREDIT CARD-STRIPPERS

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- No, strippers aren't a legit business expense. Authorities say computer engineer John David Berrett racked up nearly a half-million bucks in charges on his employer's credit card. A federal indictment charges the money went to online strippers. Authorities say he gave one exotic dancer 27 grand. His favorite performers also got gifts like chocolates, flowers and electronics. Officials say Berrett tried to conceal the nature of his credit card charges as business expenses.

 
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