Monday, December 22, 2014

A Little Christmas Poem

Christmas has come and Christmas has went, and all my money has now been spent.
But I’ll get it back, and maybe more, when I return my presents to the WalMart store.
I know no one will mind a bit, ‘cause they bought me clothes that wouldn’t fit.
It’s not gonna wind anybody’s stem, ‘cause I done the same darn thing for them.
We’ll meet at times at the gift-return line, me with their gifts, and them with mine.
It makes you wonder if there might come a day, when we all quit treating Christmas this way!
When we won’t shop for hours in cold built to freeze us, 
and just gather together for the birthday of Jesus.

Actually, buying big sack-loads of presents at Christmas is a goofy thing we have all been hooked into. Well, not me so much, I just go out on Christmas Eve and get some stuff they have thrown on sale. One year though, I was hunting ducks on Christmas Eve and had boat motor trouble and didn’t get in until midnight, so I had to give my wife and daughters money. They said it was the best Christmas ever. But my wife and daughters really like it when I make them something with my own hands for Christmas gifts. That necklace I made Gloria Jean years ago out of turkey spurs is something she treasures. She doesn’t even wear it for fear it might get stolen or broken. And that painting I did for her twenty years ago of the wolf chasing a rabbit, well shucks you couldn’t buy that for anything less than five dollars! A couple of times a year she takes it out from under the bed and cleans it with a dry cloth and some windex.

 Christmas might have been better a hundred years ago when all the folks in the community couldn’t fill the general store if they all came at once. When my dad was a boy, he and his little brothers got cap guns for Christmas with several rolls of caps. They ran around for a couple of days playing cowboys and outlaws popping those caps at each other and when the caps ran out my grandmother would gather the guns up and put them away until the next Christmas.
That way all they had to do was buy a few packs of caps the next year when Christmas came around and break out the same guns they had for years. I imagine many of our younger readers have no idea what those “caps” were. 

I usually got a new gun and holster set each year when I was 6 or 7 and started going to the Saturday matinees with Roy Rogers and Gene Autry and Lash Larue.  If dad and mom had a little money left after paying all the bills, I might get a two-gun outfit… maybe a Tex Ritter autographed holster to hold ‘em. 

Some people today object strenuously to giving little boys toy guns for Christmas, but last summer I saw a little kid in the back room of a local office where his mother was working and there on a big TV screen he was playing one of those video games using a gun to mow down hundreds of people in a matter of minutes. 

I am glad I had woods and fields and barn lots and pond banks to play on, with outlaws I only blasted in my imagination as I rode my imaginary horse. That kid sitting in that little dark T.V. room has gotten cheated in his boyhood. And if a gun and holster set and imaginary Indians and outlaws would have turned him into some wild-eyed murderer in his adult years, what might that video game do to him with all of it’s bullets and blood and bodies.

I just see so many people stressed out and meeting themselves coming and going before Christmas. They are just meeting themselves coming and going to get to that day when we observe the birth of Jesus, who told us to live life different than that. 

In the week before Christmas, I will spend two or three days at least, out in the woods or on the river. Everything is so still and quiet this time of year, as if the natural world knows the significance of that birth more than 2,000 years ago. 

More people ought to be relaxing a little, with spirits soaring and hearts light. And that may be what they are doing in the cities, in the midst of holiday traffic and in the middle of crowded shopping malls, but it sure didn’t look like it, when I have been there. 

But it was a little like that when Jesus was born, people gathering in the city of Bethlehem in big numbers, no room anywhere for a woman about to give birth. I’ll bet Joseph was about as stressed out as someone could get and he wasn’t a bit worried about whether he could find a good present to give Mary. 

Then here came wise men bearing gifts and you might wonder if they were all stressed out trying to find the best gift to bring, then hurrying through the traffic of camels and burros everywhere! I’ll bet the two with frankincense and myrrh were a little envious of the one who had brought the gold. Then that little baby in the manger grew to manhood and taught us that those who have the least may often be the most blessed. It is a fact that once a woman who only had a penny gave what Jesus considered a great, significant gift because she gave all she had. 

I have just lost interest in gifts as I get older and older. That little boy who wanted a gun and holster set every Christmas never dreamed he would have so much more than he needed, never imagined being so blessed, contented and happy. 

The real gifts in life are given to those who have finally figured out what Jesus wants of us, his blessings bestowed on those who try their best to use their talents and health and wealth to help those who need us most. The Christmas season allows for that more than any other time of year. Men are changed by it. There is a tremendous amount of happiness on Christmas day, even if it is because the stores are closed and the cooking has been done.

This week after Christmas is a good time to go shopping for crappie, or trout, or ducks. Every time you catch some fish this coming year, find someone who you can give some of them to, all cleaned and ready to cook. Tell them to consider it a Christmas gift.

Merry Christmas everybody, and if you didn’t get the card I sent I am sorry. I sent you one. The doggone postal service must have goofed up again!

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