Archive for Thursday, December 22, 2005

Making a list, checking it twice

December 22, 2005

You know it must be Christmas time when you see all sorts of people running around with Santa Claus hats on their heads. That's what I'm seeing more and more of these days. I like that.

No, there can be no doubt that Christmas is in full swing in Baldwin City. The decorations are everywhere, including that "perfect" city Christmas tree downtown, and there are so many Christmas programs and parties that you can't make it to them all.

There's always another sure sign downtown. That's the endless parade to and from the Post Office, mostly with packages. By now, though, it's more about picking them up than mailing them. Face it, if you haven't got it in the mail by now, it's not going to arrive by Christmas Eve -- unless you've got an in with Santa.

I certainly don't.

But, luckily, my package mailing list consists of absolutely none. It's time for the Myrick family get together in Lawrence this year. That means everyone both to the west and east makes the trek to my brother's house for Christmas. We do it every three years.

So, the Tennesseans are coming from the east, the Coloradoans and Liberalites from the west. I suppose, technically, Brett is representing the trek from the north, Iowa, this year, although he's already back for break. But, the Baldwinites represent the south and, yes, we certainly have the easiest trip.

There will be a very new twist to the gathering this year. My niece, Rebecca, and her husband, Eric, are the proud new parents of the next generation of our family with their son Brody. It will be Brody's first Christmas and everyone's excited about it.

And, really, isn't that what Christmas is all about -- excitement?

If you can't get excited about the season, that's too bad. I know it can be painful, in many ways for many reasons, but when push comes to shove, isn't it about the one special time a year when the theme is "Peace on earth, good will toward men?"

Separate everything from everything else, the political correctness of Christmas or "winter holiday gathering," the cram packed stores and malls while everyone battles for those last-minute gifts and the non-stop pace to meet that faithful Christmas Eve deadline. What does that leave?

"Peace on earth, good will toward men."

That's something everyone, anywhere can celebrate. Or at least they should be able to.

Unfortunately, as we all know too well, that certainly doesn't describe what our earth is like this year. While there is some good will and, thankfully, a lot of that at Christmas time, mostly around the globe there isn't a lot of good will, especially toward certain men.

No, there has been much upheaval around the world this year. Besides the war in Iraq, there are more than plenty of other places where tensions are tight and people are dying. All you need to say is terrorist and the flood of images comes in.

But, it's not just that. I certainly don't remember a year when there have been so many and such devastating natural disasters. Just say Hurricane Katrina and yet another round of brutal images comes in focus.

Yes, those are all sobering thoughts. Yes, that's what the world is like.

But, can't we just take a little respite from all the gloom and doom in the world? Can't we have a break from the suffering, etc.? I think so and I think Christmas is the perfect time for that.

It's time to be excited. If you've got young children, you know what that's like. If you've had young children, you know what that's like. And if you haven't, you should be excited, too. You may have missed that excitement, but believe me you've also missed the bad excitement that comes with kids.

No, everyone should be able to experience some sort of excitement during this time. It may come in strange ways. I know it has already for me and I've still got a ways to go. I was excited about my shopping this year. That came despite reading a story Sunday that listed the top "worst gifts" to give and some of mine were on it.

That bothered me initially, until I realized the writer wasn't entirely right. Two of the three items on the "worst" list had already been given and were greeted with extremely warm and genuine enthusiasm. I expect the same will happen with the third.

It's the thought that counts. It really does. And, I've thought about that a lot. Although my shopping is done, I intend to keep giving by sticking to the simple adage of "Peace on earth, good will toward men."

That is, except, to the bone-head writer of the "worst list." May his stocking be filled with the coal he deserves.

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