By Archie P. McDonald
Late in October I started hearing commercials for Christmas CDs on radio and television. “Too early,” I thought, “I have just gotten over the summer and haven’t begun to think about Thanksgiving, much less Christmas.” Someone reminded me that this was just good marketing because those things usually require several weeks for delivery and if ordered in October you could be sure to hear Bing Crosby sing “White Christmas” in the middle of the season on your very own re-released CD.
Well, so be it. We hear often that it would be wonderful if we had the Christmas spirit every day of the year. Long time ago I read a fantasy in which a child made that wish, and it came true, but she quickly grew tired of turkey, tinsel, and everything else connected with Christmas. So it is good that we have Christmas to anticipate, to enjoy, and then to remember.
Mostly, we remember family gatherings, parties with friends, and above all, the Joy of the season. We get a few neckties and some handkerchiefs—perfume or other things feminine, as is appropriate to our gender. We prize them because of the kindness of those who remembered us in whatever special way they could.
I remember especially one Christmas, must have been about 1944, when I awoke in our home on Liberty Street in Beaumont to find a plastic army helmet liner with an orange in it. I was too old to believe in Santa Claus, but I pretended anyway. I played “soldier” all day. Then came the time when Judy and I got a rocking horse for one son and a ball and glove for another. As much as I enjoyed that helmet, I enjoyed the rocking horse and the ball even more. That is part of the season, too. It takes a while to understand that Christmas is far more about giving than receiving. But it is that as well. Because whatever Christmas is to you, it is the season of the Advent of the King of Kings who gave all; and it is about us, who receive all He has to give.
This Christmas greeting may reach you in your office or home, or wherever the Daily Sentinel is received. Enjoy our happiest season. School is out, so we can enjoy the busyness of shopping, the quiet of an evening at home before the fire. We have presents to buy and to wrap and to hide until the perfect moment to place them under the tree. There is food to prepare, cards to address, new colored lights for the tree and yard, and visits to make or receive.
With so much activity, it is good to pause and to wish for you a season filled with good thoughts of Christmases past; a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season; and, with hope justified by the season, a future filled with more joy than pain.
Archie P. McDonald was a professor of history and Community Liaison at Stephen F. Austin State University. His commentaries were also featured each Friday morning on Red River Radio.