Part 1

While picking up some odds and ends the other day. I spoke to the manager of the store. She and I built a rapport over the years. So, I said to her, “Merry Belated Christmas!” And her remark to me was, “Thank God it’s over!” My reply, “I thought the Grinch was gone, but apparently, he’s still here.” To which many of the other customers began to chuckle. Of course, I was being sarcastic. As she is one of the sweetest, most hardworking, and most accommodating people you will ever meet. But, she was retail sales frustrated.

What does that mean? As a former retail manager, I understood exactly how she felt. It’s all about profits and sales. The Corporate Office sends you these schematics to set up the shelves and never allots any extra hours to do the impossible. At the checkout, she went on to say, ‘probably next year they’ll have us setting up Christmas in August.’ “You’ve got to be kidding me.“ “No”, she said, “They had us setting up in September so I wouldn’t be the least surprised.” To which I replied, “That’s really scary.”

While all of the fifty and seventy-five percent off sales…

The question then arose in my mind, is the way we celebrate Christmas really an illusion? When all the decorations come down, leftovers frozen, trees set on the curb or back in the box; wrapping paper and boxes put in the garbage and all the relatives have left the building. Then Silent Night has quietly nestled on the shelf again until Yuletide Season. While all of the fifty and seventy-five percent off sales hope to empty every store shelf. Lest we forget the spirit of giving that is now relinquished as we wrap ourselves in our microwavable attitudes and lifestyles.

Is the way we celebrate Christmas really an illusion? What’s the true story behind the shopping workaholics and depressed shoppers? As we walk through a short intermission before another New Year comes at the drop of the ball in Times Square. Then there will be more After-Christmas sales, angry customers standing in Customer Service lines, and depressed people who never fit into this scenario from the beginning. Who now, due to traditional pressures; will carry unspoken regrets into the New Year because of overspending? Praying for the IRS to hurry up and send them a refund check. And the cycle continues. Even though they told themselves this year they weren’t going to do it. But the attack of lunacy struck again. Their credit cards played a Jedi mind trick on them. Simply because some of us still do not understand the true meaning of Christmas.

And in contemplating all of this, for some strange reason, my mind reflected on Whoville. You know, the part of the story, How The Grinch Stole Christmas, where on Christmas morning everyone wakes up to find no trees or gifts. Then they all assemble around this huge tree in the town square and began singing a song of joy and thanksgiving. When the Grinch lends an ear, in presumption, thinking he would be hearing crying children and disappointed parents all in a tizzy. Their reaction threw him into utter and inexplicable confusion.

We have become too desensitized …

You see, the Whos in Whoville were not superficial at all. They realized the true meaning of Christmas; which apparently escaped the Grinch as well as some of us. We have become too desensitized and drenched in a cornucopia of traditions that expose our lustful appetites for the bigger tree, the most expensive gifts, and extravagant feasts in a box. But, at whose expense?

The Bob Crachits and tiny Tims in the world? The single mom or dad who has worked their fingers to the bone? Just to make sure they have the bare necessities; with nothing left over for baubles and bows? Being only one meal away from starvation? What about the elders shut up in nursing homes that never get a visit or a card? The child in an orphanage who has been sitting there too long in sorrow and sadness. Or the member sitting right next to you in church you don’t even know—only by passing acquaintance, who just received a pink slip or a divorce decree because of abuse? The next-door neighbor who is just one more disappointment away from suicide? What about the homeless people who sleep in the shadow of death. The prisoner in jail who craves a visit from anyone, because of his isolated insanity. Or that person you have not spoken to, in God only knows how long, just because you chose not to forgive, but promised to forget?

May the Blessings of the LORD be with you today and always. Thank you for your continued readership and support all the year. You can read the conclusion today. Blessings and Peace!

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