“When Christmases Collide,” A melancholy holiday tale by Seth Skogerboe
The season was that of Christmas. (Only weeks away.) The kids were tracking snow and laughter through Grandma’s house, in variant stages of snow-clothedness. The air inside smelled like pine, candles, and cinnamon, and outside, like damp, and icy fire. Inside, however, the real action was just beginning…
Aunt Jemimah had unwittingly set off a Christmas spirit bomb. “Oh, look at that dear little Santa ornament on the tree. Isn’t he just precious?” This she winged in the direction of her somewhat more precious granddaughter (who we’ll call, for the sake of cheesy Christmas people the world round, Joy). “Joy girl, isn’t he just the most precious thing you ever did see?” And just as Joy girl’s little head began to bob, shouts began to ring out from the adjoining dining room.
“Dearest Aunt Jemimah, shame on you!”
“Do you not know of the TRUE meaning of Christmas?”
“What is this to you? Just lights, presents, and new eggnog flavors?!”
“Show some respect. Baby Jesus didn’t need elves to change the world. He didn’t ask for milk and cookies.”
“Get yourself some Christmas solemnity, woman!”
Little Joy continued to nod like a bobble head, her family continued to berate, and Aunt Jemimah sobbed silently in her seat. The Christmas pie grew cold and the candles all went out before the true meaning of Christmas was fully related to unfortunate Jemimah, and the cute little bulb gave off gorgeous red and silvery hues as it roasted alongside the yuletide log.
Here is a fine line we ride. Christmas is two things: The birth of our Savior, a night to remember the star in the sky. And a holiday, when we give and receive gifts, and light candles, and sing songs. This Christmas, don’t worship Santa. Focus on Jesus. And don’t flip out if someone “Happy Xmas”-es you. Life will go on.