By LEON YOUNGBLOOD
Some thirty-odd years ago, my friend Bob Thompson and I were sharing observations about the holiday doldrums, the “dead space” that began sometime after dinner Christmas Day and hovered over winter like a shroud till along about the first hints of spring weather in early March.
Have you experienced them? Somehow, after the last gift from Santa is unwrapped, the lights don’t seem as bright, the holiday decorations begin losing their appeal, everything’s closed, the hum of life is disrupted—add the cold dreariness of winter, and things get dull.
Bob and I diagnosed, perhaps appropriately, the problem was “Christmas spirit” is an attitude the Good Lord intended for His children to carry with them every day of the year. Generally, though, it’s packed away with the holiday decorations.
The sense of festivity and celebration, the appreciation of family, friends and good food, the generosity in gift giving that indebted you financially through three generations—this was the spirit that was needed year-round. Well—perhaps we were partially right.
But age changes your perspective. I remember a conversation I overheard as a young man involving an older man who was floundering in his faith as he approached the borders of the hereafter. He was preparing for his journey by having a yard sale.
“I’m getting rid of this stuff!” he stated, referring to the usual sorts of things you find at most sales of this sort. In his case, there was an unusually large amount of bric-a-brac, crafts and things that at one time or another may have held some sentimental value to him, but now held only sentimental value to the persons who gave it to him.
Regarding some such precious piece, a daughter remonstrated, “Daddy, your grandbaby made this for you!”
“Honey, that grandbaby is 30 years old. I ain’t seen him in eight years. If I’m moving to heaven, and the Lord gives me a mansion, and I’m going to live there forever, and if that grandbaby gives something he made every year for eternity—where am I going to put it all? And I’ve got eight other grandchildren as well! I can’t take this stuff with me. But honey, I reckon them ‘heavenly treasures’ are incorporeal, and I reckon that’s what I ought to be working on—them incorporeal things I can ship ahead. Honey, I’ll be dead in a few years. I ain’t begrudging you any of this stuff. Take anything you want, of course. Just don’t plan on taking it to heaven.”
The odd thing is, for almost 40 years I wondered, “Where did this old hillbilly get the word ‘incorporeal’ from?” The mystery of whether the old man knew what it meant or not is unanswered, but I have moved on. I know a little more, I now understand what the fellow was talking about: You won’t take it with you; ship it ahead.
Meanwhile, let God bless us according to our abilities to receive.
Did you have a giddied, frenzy of a holiday celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ? Jesus was with you, maybe even dancing right alongside you, with the lights, the laughs and smiles, the jokes, the joy—and Christmas should always be a joyful holiday.
Or did you have a Christmas with no tree, no decorations, modest gifts, a modest dinner and loved every moment of it? I did. I was with my mom, and Jesus was there, too. We didn’t dance, but we sure had some wonderful reminisces of years when we could.
And have you ever spent Christmas freezing your vitals off at a shack at Briar Circle just because you wanted the experience? Well, no, you probably haven’t; but I have. Jesus was there, as well.
But, back to me and Bob Thompson: There is wisdom in celebrating Christmas every day of the year. Granted, the day led to the eventual cry, “It is finished!” spoken from the Cross at Calvary; but we need to realize, that was a cry of victory, not defeat. Christmas, Easter—you can’t have one without the other. Both are validated by Christ’s Resurrection.
If you don’t believe and accept, I can’t help you. But otherwise, get over the post-holiday doldrums and celebrate, rambunctiously or quietly, Christmas and Easter every day in a ridiculously joyful sort of way.
This will provide a foretaste of the eternal joy to come, and has the added advantage of aggravating the “holier-than-thou” element around you, too.
(Leon Youngblood is a resident of Texas, but says his heart is in Briar Circle, a small community near Cedar Lake. He can be reached at [email protected])
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