As my life has taken on many changes, I have found myself talking with other people whose experience of this Christmas is less than idyllic. No Hallmark Card photographs here.
In those conversations, I have thought about a piece I wrote for a Christian coffeehouse back in 1984, and the advanced age of 29.
There are some cultural references that some may not catch today, and there are some things I would like to edit, or re-write entirely, but I think not. Because at the distance of 26 years, I am not speaking to you; the “Eric” of 1984 is now speaking to me as well. I think editing would be presumptuous of me!
I know there are a few who may possibly read this who were in position (to their profit or pain, I will not say) to hear it the first time. For your encouragement, I still owe and thank you. (Tom D)
22 December 1984
Disapproval would be folly,
Deck the halls with hunks of holly,
Fill the cup and don’t say “when.”
Kill the turkeys, ducks and chickens,
Mix the punch, drag out the Dickens,
Even though the prospect sickens,
Brother, here we go again.
On Christmas Day you can’t get sore,
Your fellow man you must adore,
There’s time to rob him all the more
The other three hundred and sixty-four.
Send some useless old utensil,
Or a matching pen and pencil.
“Just the thing I need! How nice!”
It doesn’t matter how sincere it
Is, nor how heartfelt the spirit,
Sentiment will not endear it,
What’s important is the price.
What a mess they’ve made of Christmas!
the feast of the Birth in a manger has become the feast of the adoption in a “Cabbage Patch,” complete with a mad scramble for the new holy infant down at the local Target. –the prudent may put their name on a waiting list down at Wal-Mart.
Our hearts burn with the hype and hypocrisy of Xmas, still done in the name of the Mass of Christ.
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” we are told.
…Or at least it will be if we buy (and get) the right gifts, go to enough parties, have everything just as it was when you were a child; and of course, if we go “Home for the Holidays” Even if Mom is 84 and Dad had a stroke back in ’67.
They are trying to sell us a bill of goods; and we burn with righteous anger every time we see it.
“LORD! DO YOU WANT US TO COMMAND FIRE TO COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND CONSUME THEM!”
We come now to celebrate the birth of the Mighty One, the Son of God. The Lord of Lords and King of Kings has come into this world.
The Lord of all did not disdain the virgin’s womb, or the rough manger’s straw; but He became incarnate as the least of men, as a servant of low estate; born into a crude people in a cruel kingdom in base surroundings; to suffer and die of His own will, out of His desire for these very people. Into each of us, his people, He becomes incarnate in the same way – into my heart, base and low with sin, greed, envy and hypocrisy. He chose to come as a servant, not claiming His right until I was ready to yield it.
When has His nativity ever been different?
He made but one triumphal entry, and that time, we crucified Him.
He always comes, with joy following in His train, as a lowly one, to the despised and the despicable.
This year, as in that first. Until His final coming in Glory.
This – all this around us – is appropriate for the birth of our Lord.
He is incarnate among us.