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Blog: Tom Job

A Note from Tom: December 9th, 2010

CCC Oak Ridge

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I know it’s a little early to be saying it, but someone said it to me (the girl ringing the Salvation Army bell outside Kroger’s at Cedar Bluff) and it was still November!

“Thanks!” I said. “That’s the first Merry Christmas of the year!”

But you could tell it was already getting Christmas-ish over there in West Knoxville. You could see it on the faces. You could feel it in the air. You could hear it in the horn-blowin’ holiday  traffic. There was a lotta Yuletide…grumpiness!

You know how it is at Christmas…it’s the season of love, giving, “peace on earth, good-will towards men”. I praise God so much for every ounce of that! How we need it, now and all through the year! As Scrooge’s nephew, Fred put it, “… I have always thought of Christmas time, when it comes round…as a good time: a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time…”

But with the shopping pressure, the baking pressure, the financial pressure, the time pressure, well, folks just get pressured!  Seems like they could have been making steamed Christmas pudding with all they were letting off! Somebody said Black Friday should be called Black-and-Blue Friday!

I guess Christmas stress and pressure have been around a long time. Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote a Christmas story (before she finished “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”), where someone says, “Oh, dear! Christmas is coming in a fortnight, and I have to think up presents for everyone! Dear me, it’s so tedious! Everybody has already got everything that can be thought of…It’s impossible to decide what presents to get for people who have more than they know what to do with now…” She said that in the old days, a child would have been “perfectly delighted with a single piece of candy…Nowadays things are different. There are worlds wasted, at this time of year in getting things nobody wants, and nobody cares for after they are got!”

One ad in a Boston magazine in 1823 said..

“ ‘There is a time for giving’, says Solomon the king, and had that preacher lived in these days, he would have acknowledged that there is no time like the present and never a better assortment of gifts. If he could have just peeped into the Bookstore of Monroe & Francis, he would have found a book for each of his wives and all of his concubines, and each of their children!”

The Ghost of Christmas Presents has been haunting us a long time!

It would be awesome if the remembrance of the coming of the Prince of Peace was a time of peace…if during the whole season, and not just for one night, “all was calm, all was bright.” Sometimes folks get so compulsive, I feel like they need to go to  Deck-the-Hall-ics Anonymous meetings!

What if we decided that this year would be the Christmas of Going Slower!...Singing More!…Spending Less!...Baking More!...Buying Less!  (Average American spends…$750 at Christmas! Each person! Wow! In some countries, that’s more than the average income per year!)

Sometimes, it makes my heart so sad that Christmas is not about the “retelling of the story”, but the “retail-ing of the stores”.

I’m not trying to be a Scrooge about Christmas. But really Scrooge was the one who wouldn’t stop buying and dealing, in order to (as Bob Cratchit, quoting Tim, said..) “remember upon Christmas Day, the One Who made lame men walk and blind men see”.  All Scrooge cared about was buying, deals, savings and profit. If you say, “I’m not going to get carried away with it all this year!”, you’re not the Scrooge.

In a world of Christmas Scrooges, you’re Bob Cratchit!

“God bless us, everyone!”