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Can it be?

December 24, 2013

Christmas Eve’s of yore meant something.

Remember the first one? I mean THE first one? Mankind was pining. Life was so much simpler then we can even imagine now with our Internet, iPhones, blogs, airplanes and spaceships. People worked very hard to simply survive and care for their family. And when a baby was about to arrive, there were no hospitals or epidurals to make it safer or easier. If you were a carpenter or a carpenter’s wife, say on a journey, and your baby was about to be delivered, you found the most comfortable place you could find for the mother, even if it was a an animal stable because there was no room at the inn….and you were thankful for it…and for being together with the ones you love and care for…and you prayed.

When I was a boy, Christmas Eve we would visit my dad’s aunt Mary Ellen for lunch. Mary Ellen was homebound following a stroke. We would bring her White Castle burgers. Those visits weren’t fun for us kids. There wasn’t much to do in her house or later small apartment. We’d amuse ourselves the best we could. But it meant something to aunt Mary Ellen to see and be with us for a couple hours. Years later after Aunt Mary Ellen had passed away, we visited my home bound grandma Novick. And when she passed, we visited my dad’s Aunt Lorraine. But I learned that Christmas was more that just presents, boxes or bags…it was about simple human kindnesses…and love…and family.

Christmas Eve evenings were more fun as my mom and dad hosted a Christmas Eve party for my dad’s family. Aunts, uncles and cousins would gather for drinks, dinner, gift exchange and music…especially delightful when my Uncle Tom would play his accordion and sing Christmas songs. The adults would drink and talk. The kids would run around, play and have fun until the gifts, and then play with new toys until it was time to go and get to bed before Santa came. It was an evening of enjoyment, wonder and family.

This year I will have my kids for Christmas Eve evening, and then they will stay overnight for gift exchange in the morning before they have to leave….literally…have to leave….by court order or I can be held in contempt of court and be prosecuted for being with my children…on Christmas. Such is our world today post no-fault divorce. It’s cruel. It’s wicked. It’s wrong.

Christmas of yore was so much better…it was simpler…it meant something…it meant family – and that meant something – something sacred.

In many ways, mankind is still pining, and in worse ways. Our presents, boxes, bags and technology can’t teach our kids about human kindness, and the true meaning of love and family. Only we can, even if it is for only a brief time together, which we can be thankful for. And we can still pray.

 

Here’s video of one of my favorite versions of one of my favorite Christmas songs. It combines a mix of old school Christmas with Bing Crosby, with a modern twist, and a message of hope where men (and women) of good will live in peace…live in peace again….can it be? Years from now perhaps we’ll see.

 

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