Merry CHRISTmas (Early)

So…the latest and ongoing problem among a bazillion of them seems to be the supply chain “crisis” that’s all over the news.  Pictures of cargo ships stuck at sea waiting to dock, waiting to be unloaded, waiting to be trucked to consumers, etc. are on what seems to be every newscast.  BTW, if I can still get my Charmin or Viva or Puffs, I’m fine, but…  Here’s what I’m not fine with.

The pictures will invariably be accompanied by some newscaster saying CHRISTmas will be ruined.  Hmmm  How exactly will that ruin CHRISTmas, unless you have no clue what the holiday is about?  Steve, one of the most important people in my life, shared a Facebook post a week or so ago, that said (paraphrased) if you think CHRISTmas will be ruined because of the supply chain problem, you don’t know the real meaning of CHRISTmas.  Nailed it!!  I was glad to see it wasn’t only me who had heartburn with all the “ruined” comments.

So, exactly what is CHRISTmas?  If you’re smart, and I know EVERYONE reading my blog posts are at the top of the brain chain, you already know.  Even if you don’t, the way I type the word CHRISTmas (and have for many years) will give you a decent clue.  A more obvious one, at least, than clues you’ll find in one of my mystery novels.  First and foremost, it’s a celebration of the birth of our savior, or at least should be.  Following that, it should be about family and friends.  You don’t need to be surrounded by presents under a tree, you need to be surrounded by those you love and who love you.  If that’s a true statement, then how can the 25th be ruined by a supply chain issue?  You’re right, it can’t.

If the only criteria for a celebration on the 25th was presents, family, friends, food, etc., then last year, CHRISTmas was ruined.  For longer than I can count on my fingers and toes, CHRISTmas Eve at my house has been a gathering with Allison, Steve, their kids, and anyone else who might drop in.  There have been a few instances of that not happening, but they were rare.  Like most of the world, 2020 knocked us for a loop and we hunkered down, firmly believing life would shortly go back to “normal” if we just did what was recommended.  In hindsight, we all know how much that didn’t work out.

2020’s CHRISTmas Eve was weird since it was just Ed and me.  It was relaxing, but that’s probably because we didn’t have to do major house cleaning, getting it the closest to a “white glove inspection” as it’d ever come.  Not that we’re messy housekeepers, but we’re rather adept at dodging a bazillion cat toys littering the carpet.  We don’t expect our guests to be quite so skillful, so they go into the toy basket with the hope that Charlie doesn’t drag them all back out before company arrives.

And if I may stray from the subject for a moment, (as I usually do,) what’s up with cats?  I seem to have a cat toy fetish and find it hard to pass on buying a new one.  Seldom do we return from the grocery store or Wal-Mart without one in the bag.  Which the cats appreciate and immediately pounce upon.  Of course, that will last about 5 seconds before they return to tormenting ropes I crocheted for them.  I made several—3-foot, 6-foot, and one that’s eight long ropes tied together.  They (literally) drag them all over the house and play tug of war with at least two cats, normally more.  So why do I continue to buy them more toys?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Back to December 2020.  It was also rather lonely last year, if one can be lonely with a house full of cats.  But!!  CHRISTmas still came, without a houseful of presents, without family, without other people.  Kind of like what happened in Whoville when the Grinch stole all their presents, and I turned my attention to the REAL reason for the season.

To a certain extent, last year solidified for me the opinion that America has forgotten what CHRISTmas really means.  Years of hearing “Happy Holidays” instead of the more appropriate “Merry CHRISTmas” or seeing a sale on “holiday” trees or a fight over a nativity on someone’s lawn, had already made me a little cynical about the direction we’re going as a nation.  And now?  CHRISTmas will be ruined because cargo ships are stuck at sea.

Really?  Even if the only reason to celebrate was for presents, you can give a gift card.  Want your family to have something to unwrap?  Put it in a box, wrap it in nice paper, and top with a festive bow.  If you’re feeling especially cheerful, revert to what you (like me) probably did in your younger days and put it in a wrapped box, inside a wrapped box, inside another wrapped box, ad nauseum until you end up with a refrigerator-sized present.  (They are extremely hard to wrap, so consider stopping at a microwave-sized box.  Just sayin’!)  Or!  Shop early.  It is taking longer for gifts to get here, but there’s a fair chance they may be here in time.

Bottom line?  CHRISTmas isn’t ruined.  It can’t be ruined as long as we don’t forget the real reason for the celebration.  It’s about a baby in a manger, not a baby doll in a box.  It’s about a savior, a real one, not an action figure that can’t save anything.  Heck, they can’t even get out of their packaging by themselves.  It’s about love and peace and faith.  So, be with your family and friends, even if there isn’t a roomful of presents awaiting everyone.  We got the only present we’ll ever need, anyway.  Let’s return the focus to Him.  Jesus isn’t stuck on a cargo ship, He’s in our hearts.  Or should be.

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