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For we need a little music,
Need a little laughter,
Need a little singing
Ringing through the rafter…

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I haven’t blogged for a bit…and I’m not apologizing for that.  As we all know, life should be lived, not blogged.

I’ve spent the past week amidst familial love.  My children and grandchildren have been gathered together in the roost for Thanksgiving.  And thankfulness is what I feel for such incredible bounty in my life.

Now…the next Season is upon us.

On Tuesday morning, I delivered Daughter and Son-in-law to the airport for their flight back to D.C.  I decided, since I was in town, I would spend the afternoon Christmas shopping.  I must say that I love the Christmas season.  I love the music and the joy and the knowledge that God chose to enter our world in that Bethlehem morning so long ago.  I love everything about the season, except…

Well, at the risk of totally sounding like the Grinch, I love everything about the season except for People.  Not individual people, mind you.  Or even people in small groups.  People in small doses are actually quite manageable.  And fun. Especially friends.  As the Angel Clarence reminds us in It’s a Wonderful Life, “Remember, no man is a failure who has friends.”  

Well, that’s good, because don’t we all need someone to make sure we’re not total losers.  So, friends are fine.  It’s crowds that draw out the Bah-Humbug in me, the anti-Joy, the reclusive Grinchiness.

Tis the season for—
Manic Crowds with Competitive Shoppers (aka Insane Shoppers)
Aisles of stocking stuffer doodads that no one really needs.
Holiday ditties sung by rock musicians…who really should just stick to what it is that they do best (And that is most assuredly not Christmas carols).

Perhaps my heart is two sizes too small, but truthfully I’m with Thoreau in that “I would rather sit on a pumpkin and have it all to myself, than to be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

And yet…on my afternoon shopping spree, I stopped by Walmart to pick up an unnecessary stocking stuffer doodad or two and from my parking spot six blocks from the store’s door, I heard the voice of an angel.  A black woman—wearing a Santa hat and ringing a Salvation Army bell—was singing at the top of her lungs.   Her voice was pure exaltation.  By the time I reached the store entrance, I was captured by the smile on her face.  Here was a woman who didn’t mind crowds.  She relished in them.   There wasn’t one single Grinchy thing about her.  She found joy in People.  And I, in turn, found joy in her.

I needed Christmas tags and couldn’t quite locate them in the store.  When I posed the question to a young woman who was stocking shelves, she gleefully jumped up and led me several aisles over to an overflowing display of tags. She pointed out the most economical ones and shared a favorite story of Christmas Past with me.  Instead of huffing with impatience, she showered me with joy.

After my foray through the Competitive Shoppers, I stopped in a fast-food joint for a quick taco.  A female employee in her 60s with broom in one hand and wet rag in the other was spiffying up the place.  She greeted every customer who walked in there, asking about the quality of their day, laughing about her own, and lamenting that future milestone when she would have to retire.  She just loved her job and all the people she met and couldn’t imagine not being honored with the job of cleaning up around the taco joint.  Wow, was I a convicted Scrooge!

I have friends who tell me they are always sad at this time of year.  I can understand that.  The cheer and glad tidings often remind us of those friends or family we have lost along the way.  The music can emphasize one’s loneliness.  The joy of others can pinpoint disappointments with career or marriage or parenting.  The headlines in the news paint a world overflowing with ethnic hatred, wars, refugees, poverty, and crime.

We, The Family of Man, need Christmas like never before.  As the song says—

We need a little Christmas.
Right this very moment.

The other day, I came across something I had clipped and saved a long time ago.  I have no idea who wrote it but, as we draw toward the end of still another year, this piece is worth sharing—

This Year…

Mend a quarrel.  Seek out a forgotten friend.
Dismiss suspicion, and replace it with trust.
Write a love letter.  Share some treasure.
Give a soft answer.
Encourage youth.
Manifest your loyalty in word and deed.
Keep a promise.  Find the time.  Forgo a grudge.
Forgive an enemy.  Listen.  Apologize if you were wrong.
Try to understand.  Flout envy.  Examine your demands on others.
Think first of someone else.  Appreciate.  Be kind; be gentle.
Laugh a little.  Laugh a little more.
Deserve confidence.  Take up arms against malice.
Decry complacency.  Express your gratitude.  Have faith.
Welcome a stranger.  Gladden the heart of a child.
Take pleasure in the beauty and wonder of earth.
Speak your love.  Speak it again.
Speak it still once again.

This is a season of joy.  A time of renewal.  That moment when God chooses to come into this world to be a part of us.  Let’s give to each other and to the world what we need most…

A Little Christmas

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