Christmas just around the corner; how can that be true?
New Years’ bells ringing in 2012 still echo within as if the year’s new
The weeks and then the months flew by…and the days flew even more,
Whilst I was a’wondering what this year would hold in store.

Translation: I’m not ready for Christmas. How about you?

I have more than one friend who starts preparing for – and celebrating – Christmas in Oct. I’m still at the Bah Humbug stage then over advertisers creeping ever earlier into this Holy Holiday with pushy promos of every kind. Not even Christ’s birth is elevated above the greed to use all things to sales’ advantage.

The oversell didn’t press my family to buy more; essentials used up our family budget. I grew up in a small Minnesota town, the youngest daughter in a family of 7. My father was the village mechanic and trash truck driver. Monthly pay, $72. Yet I never felt deprived. Recently, T. D. Jakes commented, “We didn’t know we were poor growing up”. Thankfully, we never had catsup for spaghetti sauce as the Jakes’ family did. Catsup is one of my least favorite condiments (right next to mustard). Even the smell gags me.

Two other un-favorites of mine from my Swedish background – served as Christmas specialties: pickled pigs’ feet and blood pancakes (the pigs having been slaughtered right outside our kitchen. Their squeals a horror and the tastes of the finished foods an affront to my taste buds and my sensibilities)

So what were my childhood Christmas joys? Delicious pork roast and GOBS of mashed potatoes…so I didn’t have to partake of the dreaded pigs’ feet. (And I was also able to wiggle my way around the mournful blood pancakes.) Playing outdoors on the almost guaranteed snowbanks (northern Minn., ya know.) Tree trimming on Christmas Eve right after returning from the Village Hall where Santa passed out boxes of Christmas candy. Attending Christmas Candlelight services with my sister Carole. The excitement of reaching for the fruits and nuts in our stockings and then eagerly opening our one small (utilitarian) gift each. The time was wonder-filled.

Ah, how sweet and simple. That’s how I like Christmas.

May we look for the best in the Christmas set before us, even if the trappings hold a variety of traps eager to sap our faith and joy. My daughter, Carlene, though her circumstances aren’t shouting, “Joy to the world”, called the other day to ask, “ Have you listened to the words of our Christmas carols?” then she sang to me, “O, Come all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant!…” adding, “That’s me, Faithful, Joyful, Triumphant.” I relish her bold faith. May each of us gift the Christ child with increased trust in Him, so He may continue to enlarge His abiding place within us.