Dastardly Dan Dullard (Dan to his friends) sat at the end of a long wooden bar, the many gouges and burn marks that scarred its surface paid tribute to age of the bar, and its patrons. His worn and beyond-dirty black leather and denim outfit was a tight fit (Dan liked animal style fries with his double cheese burger). He wore a 357 magnum low on his right thigh; the leather holster shined from fresh oil. Although it was barley noon, Dan was finishing his third root beer float, made with real ice cream, fully leaded root beer, (Nothing lite for Dan) and topped with two maraschino cherries. Today, he would need all the courage he could buy. Today, Santa Claus was coming to town.
In the shopping mall, or in the parking lot adjacent to the mall, as we approach Christmas Day the intensity increases in almost geometric proportions. In other words, it can get pretty nasty out there. Not with everyone, and not to astronomic levels, but on average the anxiety index goes up as we near the big day. And, if you are one who believes that welcoming the New Year is the second most important day of the year, then the stress will last until sometime in January. There are moments, perhaps days, when the stress dissipates, allowing joy to sneak past the barriers of hurry and rush, bringing forth that smile for which we all search. Why are all of us so determined to self-inflict stress, drama, anxiety, and heartache into the holiday season? Could it be our unnatural, yet all-encompassing need for perfection? Everything needs to be just right. The need for “right” usually isn’t even for us; it not an “about me” complex that rules the emotional landmines cluttering the shopping, cooking, and decorating scheduled for today. No, we need everything to be just right for everyone else. It is the giving part of our celebration which provides such amazing joy and unprecedented weariness in the same instant; it’s the Yin and Yang of Christmas. I say it is time to keep the Ying (amazing joy) and throw out the Yang. I am promoting the idea that not being perfect is okay. Imperfection is the pavement on the road to happiness.
A favorite tradition during the Christmas season is the placement of lights on your yard and home. Christmas lights are like fireworks that don’t burn out and fall from the sky, but stay bright, as long and often as you wish. Glowing colored lights of all shapes and colors: red, yellow, green, and now even purple, in shapes of stars, balls, icicles, and angels. Trees and bushes are engulfed by multicolored webs, transforming dormant green and brown plants into glowing beacons of electric wizardry. Suddenly, a fog filled and chilly evening has become a scene of Muppets playing in the neighbor’s yard, Charlie Brown and his gang playing baseball on the roof, Santa and his gift filled sleigh rocket to a chimney from a nearby light pole. Scenes of white glowing deer amongst (You guessed it), white glowing circular trees surround the Magnolia Tree in the front yard, and air filled Polar Bears standing along an Igloo – magically rise for the evening show, only to deflate at midnight. Occasionally, a scene of wise men, a man and woman, and a baby find their way onto a yard to tell a different story of light.
Lighting our homes in celebration of Christmas is a beautiful tradition that I hope lives forever. Of course it should, since the tradition has already survived for over two thousand years. The first year there was only one light, but it was fantastically bright, and thought it could be seen by millions, was only noticed by three. It is a light that has never gone out since, and never will.
Have a very Bright and Merry Christmas.
Your Mercy is limitless.
Your Encouragement for my soul is beyond expression.
Your Righteousness is our only desire.
Your Reality is the basis of all human understanding.
Your Years are infinitely uncountable.
Your Courage smothers the fear that emanates from Hades.
Your Heart holds the love of the universe; yet there is still room for more.
Your Remembrance of my sin is no more, as if it never was.
Your Instincts create reality.
Your Strength covers all of my weakness.
Your Timing is exact and perfectly planned.
Your Motives are pure.
Your Authority is permanent and eternal.
Your Son is our road to salvation.