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 August 22, 2014 07:10 GMT

"STONER" ARRESTED FOR POT

ORANGE, Va. (AP) -- It's a twist on the old saying that when dog bites man, it isn't news, but when man bites dog, it is news. A "stoner" being arrested for pot possession isn't news. But when the "stoner" is named "Stoner" -- it's worth taking note of. This "Stoner" -- 42-year-old Paul Scott Stoner -- was arrested in Virginia. And authorities in the commonwealth say he is facing drug charges after police found more than $10,000 worth of pot at his home. He's charged with growing marijuana and having a firearm while in possession of more than a pound of marijuana. Stoner is free on bond, with a hearing set for next week.

PAY IT FORWARD

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- Think of it as a "pay it forward" campaign -- on caffeine. A woman in Florida went to a Starbucks drive-thru in Florida on Wednesday and on top of the iced tea she ordered, she asked to pay for the caramel macchiato for the stranger in the car behind her. The man in the car behind returned the favor to the driver behind him -- and a chain reaction started that continued for hours. The store crew kept track -- and before it was over, there were 379 customers who were treated to a Starbucks drink then paid it forward -- or backward, if you want to look at literally. The last customer in the chain declined to pay for someone else's coffee, even though a barista explained the concept to her.

HERMIT IS OUT OF THE WOODS

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) -- If you run into a guy in Maine who seems just a little out of step with the modern world, do not ask: "What, have you been living in the woods for 30 years?" The answer might be yes. Christopher Knight has spent nearly three decades in the woods, away from society. He survived the brutal winters by swiping food from homes and camps. Knight's story is being told in the current issue of GQ magazine. He says he isn't crazy about the society he's being forced to re-enter. He says the world these days is too colorful, lacks aesthetics -- and is crude.

 
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