In Search of Some Christmas Joy
The Gazebo at Kershaw Park, Canandaigua, NY

What happened to the Christmas’s that we used to celebrate? There just doesn’t seem to be any joy that used to be connected with the season. Instead, it is my perception that there is a lot of nervousness and apprehension in the air.

Some Beautiful Red Berries to Greet the Winter Solstice

The shop keepers, restaurants, and big box retailers have filled their places of business with the usual commercial artifacts of the season, but the shoppers don’t appear to me to be impressed. They just seem to go about their normal routines of trying to keep food on the table and clothes on their children’s backs.    Might it have something to do with prices that have risen anywhere from 10% to 50% over the past year?

Last year there was a shortage of Santa Clauses to collect for the various charities. This year’s crop of Santa Clauses demonstrates absolutely no enthusiasm for ringing their bells and standing out in the freezing weather. Could it be that these artifacts of Christmas’s past have been replaced with “Do you want to round up your purchase for the XYZ charity?” It appears to me that this last iconic Christmas job has now been eliminated either electronically or by the Post Office.  Why fight the government’s system of delivering thousands of letters from charities by the US post office from all across the United States for 14 cents? Yet this same system wants us to spend a 55-cent stamp just to deliver a Christmas card to bring a little joy and some cheer to a distant friend or relative?  Of course, you’ll send an e-mail. Or is it that there was really something fragile, perishable, or subversive in that old fashioned Christmas card?   

And speaking of electronics, who needs the latest model iPhone starting at $799 for the smallest amount of memory? I can’t seem to make my recently purchased Samsung smart phone work any better than my old 2016 Samsung. It has not brought me any real joy – just more aggravation and lots of advertisements’ that I don’t remember signing up for. No wonder the old phone ran out of memory!

But bear with me for a bit. Take the time to read the Christmas story in Mathew Chapter 2: 1-12 (KJV) about the three wise men who came bearing gifts brought to the newly born baby Jesus. Did they need a GPS to help them find the location of the new Savior? No, just a bright star that guided them to the baby’s location. And they were truely wise men because they returned home by another way as they knew that their visit would put the new baby’s life in danger. And thus, the true joy of Christmas is revealed. It’s not about Santa Claus, inflation, material shortages, or instant electronic messaging. It’s about a little baby who was born to show us the way if we only follow the star.

James Bupp