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Monday, May 2, 2016

Gray Matter: The Ubiquitous Christmas Letter

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

As inevitable as the first snowfall, cartoonists, talk show hosts, et al, are  starting the annual onslaught on Christmas letters, so I decided to weigh in with my views. 

In the first place, with a few exceptions, I love those annual messages and  look forward to them eagerly.  Before the advent of blogspots, e-mail, and the like, those were my only means of keeping in contact with some of my friends and family members.  Fond memories are aroused; events, ranging from comic to tragic, are reported; all sprinkled with wit and wisdom.

At long last, I think I have figured out why some folks have problems with those yearly missives.  It has nothing to do with the writers. Of course, if you get inane, brag-sheets, from your relatives, there is little you can do but put up with them.  As a wise observer once said, "We are relatives by chance, but friends by choice." 

With that in mind, if the majority of the unsavory letters you get are from friends, you have only yourself to blame.  You simply picked the wrong friends.  These people don't just "morph" into some kind of freaks, come December.  If you stop to think about it,  aren't they pretty much the "me and mine" sort the other eleven months, too?  There may not be much you can do about these matters at this point, but here's a suggestion.  Just remember that these are the friends you picked, so try to refrain from complaining about the letters they send. 

The effort to emphasize everything other than the true meaning of  Christmas was another Holiday annoyance that has been troubling me.  So I am pleased to see that it  is finally getting some high profile attention .   

One recent Sunday, when I was unable to attend church services, I watched a well-known TV minister.  As it happened, he was challenging this very trend.  He also told of several prominent secular media personalities who are joining in the movement.  It's encouraging to see this sort of reversal taking place.  I think we all should make every effort to help advance the cause.  A possible starting point, the speaker suggested,  was to choose your Christmas cards with a Christ-centered theme.  After all, it is His birthday.  He wryly pointed out that if it were your birthday party and your name was Charlie, you wouldn't appreciate getting a card addressed to Joe.

You see the connection--so many of what should be Christ's birthday cards speak to Santa, or Rudolph, or who knows what.   

An additional point is to make certain, if you are physically able, to celebrate Sundays in His house. Scheduling your shopping forays for week-day evenings or Saturdays is another sound suggestion, particularly if you have children or grand-children.  Sundays are for worship, so this is a good way to show them where your priorities lie.

Hopefully I'm not sounding too much like a grandmotherly scold.  Please take my admonitions in the sense in which they are intended. It's my wish that they might ease a bit of the stress of these coming days so everyone can enjoy a Happy, Holy, Holiday Season!