This, That and Other Stuff

Bob Neuman

Christmas Specters

In Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol, a portion of his introduction written in 1843 states, “I have endeavored in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea….”

We may ask just what his “ghost of an idea?” is. Perhaps he meant for people to be more aware of and helpful to the unfortunate. Or maybe he told us to not be stingy with our resources. Others my think he was saying that our time on earth is short and we should use it wisely.

Although our Christmas of 2015 will soon pass into history, it began with the ghost of Christmas future sometime prior to Halloween when the store ads filled our newspapers with pictures of Santa, the marathon of Christmas music and numerous holiday programs flooded the television.

The ghost of Christmas arrived about a week before the actual day with an intense push to go, shop and buy. Filled with advertising, newspapers became difficult to lift. We received a daily account of how much the purchasers were spending. Will it soon be August when the Christmas spirit arrives?

Did you know that the holiday season does not always bring things which are merry and bright? Statistics tell that more suicides occur at this time more than during the entire year.

As in Dickens’ lifetime, our cities are filled with cold and suffering people who live on the streets. Many others are alone in their homes or in nursing homes or similar institutions. Others are dealing with poverty, addiction, marital strife, illness or death. A Christmas greeting to these has little meaning.

Have we been brainwashed by the material version of Christmas? Was it really established by the merchants for people to overspend and go into debt? When you were shopping elbow to elbow prior to Christmas, were purchasers filled with mandated cheer and merriment? Did you notice any sugar plums dancing in their heads …or their behavior?

The Arizona Republic carried a while ago that a wife, discovering her husband had secretly opened one of his gifts early from her, stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Neat way to say Merry Christmas.

Like it or not, without Christ‘s birth there would be no Christmas. After all, we do not celebrate the holiday because your uncle or Charlie Chaplain or Fatty Arbuckle was born?

Offering a “Merry Christmas” to others has become politically incorrect. Are the substitutes “happy holidays” printed on school signs, the lack of manger scenes, and the missing musical non-religious presentations that have disappeared really justified? Some fundamentalists think we have lost our senses. When is too much, too much? Next Christmas will we find Frosty instead of Jesus in the crib?

We now stand at the beginning of a new year. No one knows what 2016 will bring. Some will be happy, accomplish much and have a great year. Predictably for others there will be sadness, despair, illness and death. Controlling exactly how we will live or what befalls us during the year before us is impossible. Therefore, would it not be preferable to give our lives and faith to the one who was born in a certain stable 2015 years ago?