Eightball and Thundercloud's RANT

They Can't Steal My Christmas

"On a quiet evening watching winter snowflakes fall -
The candle in the window casting shadows on the wall.
The village streets are empty on this snowy Christmas Eve;
Oh to be a child again and see the innocence in all."

The house is dark and quiet. I sit by the window watching the snowflakes drift down from a dark, winter sky and silently fall onto the empty street. The only light in the room is a solitary Christmas candle softly flickering in the darkness. I am looking not at the candle but at the candle's reflection in the window - its flame mingles with the snowflakes outside; its warm glow melding with snowflakes create a magical scene. It's Christmas Eve. And the world is a lovely place - peaceful and silent.

Tonight, in my little town, the streets are quiet and empty. There are no tire tracks in the snow. No footprints on the walkways for there have been no passers-by on this night. The distant, soft light from a streetlamp, glows like a lonely sentry, casting its shadows on a snowy landscape on a quiet winter night.

I think about Christmas and how much it has changed since I was a child. I think about the things I miss most about being a child at Christmas. I think I miss the innocence the most. How desperately different the world is now. It makes me sad to think that perhaps I have played a part in the change.

Today, some think that Christmas is nothing more than a vast commercial enterprise; which exists solely for the purpose of generating huge profits for a fortunate few. When I was a child, the Christmas season lasted perhaps two weeks - and it was a long wait for me then. Now, the Christmas Shopping Season has expanded to a point where stores put Christmas decorations up the same day they take Halloween decorations down. How did we let this happen?

The snowflakes, grow larger and fill the sky with luminous puffs of light - as they fall through the pale, blue glow of a distant street light.  I can almost hear the faint sound they must make as they fall gentle on the snow-covered street. The reflection of the candle and the softly falling snow, together, in my window, paint a lovely picture on this silent winter night.

Political correctness would have us tear down our Christmas displays and do away with the word "Christmas" altogether. Advertising agencies, charged with making as much money for their clients as possible, have done their best to convince us that real love is more about a $5000.00 diamond necklace or a $15,000.00 diamond ring, or a $75,000.00 Lexus, than it is a gift of the heart. Instead, these advertisements try to put us in an adult make-believe world where love can be purchased if one has the money - or more likely, if one is willing to go into debt for "love". The more expensive the gift, the more love you give? Is that what they're trying to tell us? I guess someone must be buying into this. There's an awful lot of ladies in TV commercials receiving a whole lot of very expensive, glittering "love".

The gifts we give for Christmas have somehow become the focus of season. And, every year it seems to get worse. But, the world didn't get the way it is in one day. I let it happen. We all let it happen. I think we are all waking up. I know I am. I just hope we haven't let it get so far out of control that we can't bring it back again. There is nothing wrong with giving gifts as long as we know which are the ones that really matter.

They can't steal my Christmas. I know what Christmas means. It never really left my heart. The heart of a child still beats inside. Innocence tarnished but not gone. I know what gifts matter and which gifts do not.

America is a Christian country and Christmas is a Christian holiday. Yet, cities which once celebrated the season with magnificent Christmas displays are now dark and mundane at Christmas. I feel sorry for the children today who will never know the magic of having parents or grandparents take them to see the beautiful, animated Christmas displays in department store windows - or the live Nativity scenes with real animals and actors and actresses playing the part of Joseph and Mary and the others; or the dazzling Christmas lights which adorned every lamp post and lined buildings and city streets.

Nativity scenes, commemorate and portray the birth of Jesus. And whether you believe He was a The Savior or not, he devoted his life to the teaching of love, hope, faith, peace and goodwill. In this respect, celebrating His birth should not be offensive to anyone who is not Christian. Yet people take offense at the words "Merry Christmas" as if some attempt at conversion to Christianity was taking place. If someone wished me "Happy Hanukkah" I would not be offended. Would you? I respect others and their right to believe as they wish - and even though I may not agree with them, I would never be offended by what they believe.

They want to steal the real Christmas and turn it into a mega shopping spree from Halloween until the 24th of December. We cannot let them steal our Christmas. I won't let them steal mine.

As I sit alone, in the candlelight, I make a list of gifts i would give if only I could. When I finish, I realize that nothing on my list would cost a single penny, yet if I were able to give these gifts, I would have given much.

My Christmas List

To the moms and dads and grandparents of the young men and women who serve in the armed forces and are far away from home this Christmas, I would give them the gift of their son or daughter's safe return.

To the elderly who will be alone at Christmas, in nursing homes around the world, I would give them each an hour of my time and give them the gift of friendship.

To the sick, I would give health.

To those who are dying, I would give faith..

To the powerful I would give the gift of compassion so they could know the powerless.

To the wealthy I would give ears so they could hear the cries of the starving.

To the poor I would give knowledge and opportunity so they could know hope.

But I stopped writing when I realized that all these gifts I would give had already been given. They were given over two-thousand years ago to us all by the Man whose birth we celebrate at Christmas. The eternal gift of His teachings and the billions of hearts His Words have touched are gifts to all mankind - Christian and non-Christian alike. But His greatest gift to us all was the gift of love.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, love is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.... So faith, hope, love remain, these three; but the greatest of these is love." 1 Corinthians Chapter 13

The snow has stopped falling and the candle has burned out. The streets are barren, glistening with fresh snow. The innocence of a child fills my heart as I look out the window to the road below. I imagine sleighs and horses and snowball fights - and imagine the laughter of children playing in the snow.

The clock is chiming. It's Christmas day. My children are gown and coming home today for Christmas. That is the best gift of all. I can't think of anything more a parent could wish for. It's time to go to sleep. I have a festive day ahead. A Christmas Day with my grown children. I am a lucky man indeed.

The best gift we can give at Christmas are the ones that money cannot buy. They are the gifts we give from the heart.  Parents and grandparents need to remember that the gifts they buy for their children and grandchildren won't be remembered next Christmas - but the gift of their time and their love will be remembered forever.

At Christmastime and always, the greatest gift we can give is the gift of ourselves; our time; our friendship, and most of all our love. If we freely give from our hearts and remember that love is the greatest gift of all, we honor the Man who birthday we celebrate on Christmas.

And no one can steal our Christmas if we are true the real meaning of Christmas. If we all keep it well and keep it in our hearts, it will last forever.

In the season of love and forgiveness let us forgive those would try to change or steal our Christmas. Let's remember that  Christmas will always be what we who believe make it. We can keep Christmas in our hearts. They can't steal my Christmas, because Christmas lives in my heart. With the wonder and innocence of a child reborn - I believe in Christmas. I hope you will keep Christmas in your heart and believe with the wonder and innocence of a child too.

And may the faith, hope, forgiveness, charity compassion, and love that He taught us all, live within you at Christmastime - and always.

And remember: Love is the greatest gift of all.

Merry Christmas!

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