I just watched Miracle on 34th Street (the 1947 original, not the 1994 remake), so you've caught me at a vulnerable moment.
I'm hesitant to say "vulnerable" because Donald Trump has forbidden any use of that word by the Centers for Disease Control.
If you've never seen the movie, I recommend the original. Technology may have exploded in the fifty years following the 1947 release, but actors didn't get any better.
Not for nothing, my favorite Christmas movie is Scrooged (1988) with an all-star cast including Bill Murray, Karen Allen and Bobcat Goldthwait.
All outstanding copies of It's a Wonderful Life should be burned, but that's a whole other discussion.
I got a call yesterday from a friend who asked if he could borrow a little something to get him through Christmas. He promised to pay me back on January 6.
It wasn't a large amount and I told him to meet me later that day in the liquor department of a local grocery store. They just happen to have a little tasting bar where you can get ten ounces of 8% ABV craft beer for $3.50.
When I hung up, I went to my wife's desk and pulled out a money envelope, the ones we used to use to pass out Yuletide goodies when we worked downtown (Chicago).
I knew where they where because I had used one earlier in the day to put out a little holiday cheer for the mailman.
I put the cash in the envelope and signed it, "Merry Christmas, Bob." How can you give someone money for Christmas and act like it's some kind of a payday loan?
I don't say all this expecting to receive the Humanitarian of the Year award. I say it to acknowledge that there is something in the air at Christmas time. There just is.
Christmas seems to unlock some inner kindness, which is not something I believe in, yet there it is.
In his book, The Five Side Effects of Kindness, David Hamilton says, "We're genetically wired to be kind."
I tend to believe that people are selfish at their core and this past year has done nothing to disprove that.
Still, there is something about this day that is unlike any other. The rational explanation would be that there is, indeed something inside us looking for an excuse to burst out.
Well aged bourbon, for example calls forth an appearance from my evil twin, Larry.
As the celebration of Christmas grew in secularity, so it grew in commercialization. In its purest form, Christmas is a birthday party for Jesus, although we give each other presents.
All evidence points to Jesus being born at the end of March, but that would have conflicted with pagan rituals of spring, space currently occupied by Easter and Passover.
There's only so much room on the calendar.
Stripping away what has evolved into a Toys-R-Us-cum-Amazon holiday, there was once a message beneath the wrapping paper that seems to have slipped away.
Jesus grew up in humble surroundings and his later teachings reflected that. His message was simple and can be summed up in five words: "Take care of each other."
His concern was always for the neediest among us; the poor, the hungry, the homeless, the sick and the aged.
How did we ever go from feeding the hungry to stealing their money and giving it to the rich? If you can justify that and still call yourself a Christian, then you may be a Republican.
As Michael Jackson said, "I'm starting with the man in the mirror." In the practice of what I preach, I will now attempt some Christmas magic of my own.
Merry Christmas, President Trrrrrrrrruuuu........ Merry Christmas, Mr. Preeesssssssss.......
Well, it may be too soon for that miracle, maybe I'll get another chance next year. Maybe not.
Until then, Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. (Who says you can't say "Merry Christmas"?)
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