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Posts Tagged ‘Joy’

Now that it’s Christmastime
Won’t you please forgive the tearful eye?
Please forgive the shabby man on the street.
Now that we’re almost there,
On the verge of another year,
Please forgive the tattered shoes on his feet…

Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for another day.
Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for Christmas Day.

On Christmas Day we gather ’round the table,
Say the requisite Grace, with a happy face,
And wish goodwill upon the Human Race.

Now that it’s New Year’s Eve,
Won’t you please forgive the poor, who grieve?
Take a bite, and wipe your mouth on your sleeve.
Now that it’s almost here,
Raise your cup, be of good cheer,
Close your eyes and try to forget the fear…

Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for another day.
Hey, don’t you look away,
This can’t wait for New Year’s Day.

On New Year’s Eve we gather in the evening,
Drink the sparkling wine, sing Auld Lang Syne,
Make resolutions till we’re feeling fine.

Through every Christmas Day, and
Festive New Year’s Eve
My friend, I’m sad to say
There’s been a shadow, doggin’ me
And it’s
still
right
there.

– Rod Brock, 1997

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A point I’ve made over and over again in this blog is that in order to simplify your Christmas, you have to do something. You have to make a concerted, positive effort to change those things that are making you miserable with each passing Christmas. In line with this is the “Christmas Pledge, set forth in Unplug the Christmas Machine , by Jo Robinson and Jean Coppock Staeheli. For your edification, I now reproduce the pledge in its original form, save for adding a sixth element of my own devising to the pledge.

THE CHRISTMAS PLEDGE:

Believing in the beauty and simplicity of Christmas, I commit myself to the following:

  1. To remember those people who truly need my gifts.
  2. To express my love for family and friends in more direct ways than presents.
  3. To rededicate myself to the spiritual growth of my family.
  4. To examine my holiday activities in light of the true spirit of Christmas.
  5. To initiate one act of peacemaking within my circle of family and friends.
  6. To endeavor, after each Christmas season, to carry something of the values of Christmas with me throughout the rest of the year.

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In the video below, “I Believe in Father Christmas,” Greg Lake is singing about a process he went through, that many people go through as they grow older:

1.) The wonder and innocence of Christmas

I remember one Christmas morning
A winter’s light and a distant choir
The peal of a bell, and that Christmas tree smell
And their eyes full of tinsel and fire.

2.) The loss of innocence; the realization that “Father Christmas” isn’t real. In a broader sense this verse can be taken to mean the realization that Christmas is very much a commercial thing – the line in the prior verse, “They sold me a Silent Night” bears this out.

And I believed in Father Christmas
And I looked at the sky with excited eyes
till I woke with a yawn in the first light of dawn
And I saw him and through his disguise

3.) His own personal resolution as to what Christmas means. The understanding that Christmas is, in a sense, a “state of mind.” He proffers good wishes upon us, which is in itself an act of charity, then he concludes that “The Christmas we get we deserve.” And that’s really the key to what he’s trying to say. Each of us is free to keep Christmas any way he or she pleases, or not to keep it at all. It doesn’t have to be about commercialism: it is you who makes it about commercialism. The vast advertising media in the United States cultivates a two-way relationship with Christmas advertising: they sell you a concept, and either you buy it, or you don’t. But you don’t have to buy it. You can make Christmas about everything else – about charity, about caroling, about family, about togetherness, about plum pudding and mince pie. Those who are alone may reach out to others, and those who are not alone may reach out to those who are.

Am I saying: Do not buy presents? Certainly not. I am only suggesting, as I have suggested in other posts, that Christmas can be about so much more than presents, and presents will never be able to replace the things that really matter: the togetherness, now, and the memories that we will retain when we are old, long after the presents are forgotten.

Aim for joyful, memorable experiences this Christmas, and let the presents be the icing, not the cake.

They said there’ll be snow at Christmas
They said there’ll be peace on Earth
Hallelujah, Noel! Be it Heaven, or Hell,
The Christmas we get we deserve.

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“I hate holidays,” said Bachelor Bluff to me, with some little irritation, on a Christmas a few years ago. Then he paused an instant, after which he resumed: “I don’t mean to say that I hate to see people enjoying themselves. But I hate holidays, nevertheless, because to me they are always the saddest and dreariest days of the year. I shudder at the name of holiday. I dread the approach of one, and thank heaven when it is over. I pass through, on a holiday, the most horrible sensations, the bitterest feelings, the most oppressive melancholy; in fact, I am not myself at holiday-times.”

“Very strange,” I ventured to interpose….

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Is this the true meaning of Christmas?

Whether one observes a secular or religious Christmas, we are all bombarded each year with messages – both subtle and gross – to buy, buy, buy. It’s no different this year, except that the vast Christmas machine seems to have shifted into overdrive. Watching the evening news over the last week, I note a recurring emphasis on the fact that most major American retailers had the worst October, saleswise, since 1969. While this is certainly newsworthy, the extent of the coverage betrays an array of underlying “details”– (more…)

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Over the next couple of months visitors to Simplify Christmas (yes, visits have remained consistently high, even through the spring and summer months of 2008) will notice some fairly dramatic changes in the organization and appearance of the site as I prepare for the official start-up date of November 1st. The first big change is this new theme – which will be modified as needed before the official start-up. Update: 09/27/2208: I’ve decided to stick with last year’s theme – better features, overall.

Do not be alarmed by the changes – Christmas 2007 is past, and Simplify Xmas 2008 is going to be even bigger and better than last year!

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Christmas Eve!

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