Each year about this time, I get nervous about Christmas.
My girlfriend, Gay, has already bought her Christmas gifts and has them wrapped by mid December.
I'm the sort of person who worries all month long because I don't know what to buy. Every year it's the same old story.
One of my longtime friends always says, "Christmas comes the same time every year.".
What's she's hinting at is that I shouldn't be caught off guard and I should be prepared because Christmas is always December 25. Every year.
I know that, but I don't know what to buy as gifts for all those people who don't need anything anyway. We get caught in the trap of buying and buying, running up credit cards, and joining the frantic crowds who are doing the same thing.
Shouldn't Christmas be for kids?
Do we really need to buy a Mickey Mouse necktie for grandpa and a designer handbag for grandma?
Shouldn't the Yuletide be more about family and fellowship, instead of tinsel and glitter?
Yes, I have a little tree this year. I haven't decorated my 6-ft tall tree in four years because it's too much trouble. I've opted for a small fiber optic tree that can be set up in ten minutes.
Yes, I like Christmas. I like the outside Christmas decorations and the live nativities and Christmas cantatas and candlelight services.. But the long shopping lines and the holiday traffic congestion is not my cup of tea.
I guess my mom loved Christmas more than anyone. Even when she was 90 years old, she couldn't wait to open her gifts. If anyone left a gift for her, you can be assured she had it open the minute the gift giver stepped out of sight. If she received gifts at a family Christmas reunion, she'd open them in the car on her way home. She just couldn't wait for Christmas day.
My dad was just the opposite. Sometimes the gifts he received were left unopened long after Christmas had passed. Eventually, he would get around to opening them. If the gift was a set of work clothes, he'd wear those in his workshop. He liked gadgets but he usually bought those for himself
He liked to disguise gifts he bought for us kids. He'd put some nuts and bolts in the package so that when we shook it, we would be puzzled. Another time, he stuck a $100 bill in the top of a small toy train caboose. We never knew what he might come up with. I do remember when I was a teenager that he bought a delicate engraved gold bracelet for me. I was so surprised and pleased that he had gone to the jewelry store and personally picked it out for me. I kept it for years, even after the clasp broke.
Each Christmas I think about what my friend said about Christmas being the same time each year.
She's so right. It doesn't matter if we have broken someone's heart or if ours has been broken, Christmas goes on. It doesn't matter if death has come to our spouse or a beloved friend, Christmas comes around, just like always. Whether we move across country, or serve our country in Afghanistan or somewhere else, we will celebrate the birth of the Christ Child.
No matter the circumstances, Christmas abides.
So finish up that last minute shopping and wrapping.
Christmas is here, right on time.