Christmas…Hope or Hype?
Okay, I admit it–I love holidays, especially the ones that fall during the autumn and winter months when it’s not so unbearably hot here in the south. I love it when the time changes back to the real time with short days and long, cool winter nights. I don’t even mind if it’s wet and cold, although I do sympathize with those unfortunates that have to work in it. I wish the words Daylight Savings Time could be erased from the English language! I like having all of that extra time to be inside my home in the evenings. I know…I’m weird but that’s just the way it is.
My excitement begins to build beginning at Halloween when my hubby and I deck the carport with decorations and sit there as we pass out the candy and other trinkets to the hundreds of children who show up every year. It grows as Thanksgiving nears and I burn up my laptop and internet with early holiday shopping. By December 1st, I’m absolutely giddy with excitement.
One thing that puts a damper on my mood is to see Christmas decorations out while ghosts, goblins, turkeys, and pumpkins are still on display. I mean, really…two months of glass balls, glittery ornaments and candy canes? Must we suffer through the Christmas hype for that long? Doesn’t anyone out there feel as overwhelmed as I do?
I like Halloween. That doesn’t make me a heathen who partakes in satanic rituals. I love to see the children in their adorable, creative, and yes, sometimes a little scary, costumes. I love giving them candy, as well as small items like erasers, bookmarks, or necklaces. The children in town count on us to be there and I don’t want to disappoint them. I hope we see them every October until I’m dead and buried.
I love Thanksgiving. That doesn’t mean I condone the slaughtering of Native Americans by the settlers. Native Americans whose ancestors, by the way, also settled way back when and got stuck there once the land masses separated. My ancestors didn’t do it. I come from Cajuns, people who were forced out of a country rather than swear allegiance to a royal who wouldn’t allow them to practice their religion. Those who survived the trip to Nova Scotia were deported from there later on – families split up – women and children left to fend for themselves without their husbands and fathers. No aid, no apologies, no casinos, or welfare. They survived on their own, fending for themselves, and keeping to themselves to avoid the people who ridiculed them. My ancestors were treated no better than slaves or Native Americans but they survived and thrived in this wonderful new world.
Am I politically incorrect for celebrating Thanksgiving? According to certain Facebook ads and You Tube videos, apparently I am. Cajun people, however, learned to take advantage of any reason to celebrate the lives we’re blessed with. I’m simply thankful to God for allowing me to live in the best country in the world. (Yes, I still believe that, and I feel that anyone who doesn’t should pack their belongings and haul their ungrateful butts to a different part of the world.)
I adore Christmas. I know it’s not about online shopping, Black Friday, or good bargains. To me, it’s about stories like The Little Drummer Boy, It’s a Wonderful Life, A Christmas Carol, and much to my husband’s dismay, anything remotely Christmassy playing on the Hallmark channel during the month of December. 
It’s about the joy of new birth, the gift of life, the wonder of miracles, and the brightest of all stars to lead us from the darkness into a bright, promising world. It’s about treating others with kindness and generosity. It’s the Salvation Army bell ringers in front of a Wal-Mart, the Toys for Tots boxes, the call for food bank donations, coat drives, and being a secret Santa at the local church. It’s teaching my grandchildren that Christmas is about GIVING when I take them shopping to buy their parents an inexpensive gift. It’s seeing the excitement and joy in their faces as they watch their moms and dads open the gifts they chose especially for them. It’s the joy in a child’s heart when her mommy wraps her in a hug and showers her with appreciative kisses…even when she knows the penguin salt and pepper shakers will stand out like a Chippendale dancer in a mosque amongst her Tuscan style kitchen décor.
It’s not about who has the prettiest tree or how many gifts are stacked up beneath it. It’s not about whose home is covered with more lights, whose yard filled with more snow globes, Christmas carousels, or inflatable Santas. No matter the denomination, if you’re a Christian you should know it’s about the greatest gift of all – the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and savior.
December 25th is the date chosen for us to celebrate his birth. Does it matter that we know he wasn’t born during the winter time? I don’t believe it does. What does matter is that we keep Jesus in our hearts all year long, not just during the month of December, and not just in the hour or two you may spend sitting in a church once a week.
It’s about the hope that one day we all learn to replace our greed and selfishness with kindness and generosity, that evil will be erased from the face of the earth. It’s about looking someone in the eye and saying in a booming, cheerful voice, “Merry Christmas!” instead of mumbling a weak “Happy Holidays” or “Season’s Greetings” in order not to offend someone who isn’t a Christian. It’s about caring more about your belief than being politically correct. Finally, it’s about believing in something we cannot prove … and that, my friends, is called Faith.
Here’s praying you all have a holy and blessed Christmas. Please remember to give of yourself this Christmas Season.
 Check out one called “The Christmas Card”. There’s a young gentleman named Nick Ballard from Moss Bluff, Louisiana playing the part of Jonesy, a soldier serving in Afghanistan. He’s my inspiration for one of the characters in my manuscript, Jackson Broussard, in Last First Kiss. You can see a photo of him on my website under the Men of Louisiana page.