Sunday, December 24, 2017

Bill Crawford: The Real Stuff of Christmas

Christmas morning for the kids is such a happy time as they exclaim over all kinds of stuff under ornamented trees or poking out of stuffed stockings.
The Christmas season is a miraculous time for retailers. More and more businesses are saved by shoppers buying Christmas stuff every year.
Of course, the real miracle of Christmas is not about stuff. Just the name “Christmas” tells us that. It comes from the Old English words Crīstes mæsse, meaning Christ’s mass, the festival celebrating the birth of Christ.
The piles of circulars that make newspapers terribly heavy this time of year and the incessant Internet and TV ads don’t focus much on the Christ part of Christmas. They’re all about merchandising stuff. That’s part of the trend by merchants, government, and the irreligious to emphasize the festive part of Christmas and de-emphasize the Christ part, e.g. Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas. 

For too many, Christmas has become all about stuff and good times. Interestingly, secular festivities have competed for ascendancy during the Christmas season since the Fourth Century. The early church celebrated the baptism, death and resurrection of Jesus, but not His birth. Some church historians say the celebration of Christ’s birth came about to draw people away from pagan festivals that occurred about the same time – the German yule festival and Celtic solstice legend of Balder are cited at Christianity.com. Then there was Saturnalia, the pagan festival when Romans feasted and gave gifts to the poor.
Nonetheless, the festivities celebrating the birth of Christ are intended to include a healthy portion of worship, e.g. giving thanks to God for the birth of His only begotten son, joining in Christian fellowship, and singing His praises.
With strong forces dimming the true meaning of Christmas, it’s up to churches and families to keep this balance alive. Your pastor has probably urged you to better balance your secular stuff with the real stuff of Christmas.
For example, balance those smiles of joy on Christmas morn from opening stuff with smiles of joy from the carols and fellowship of Christmas, smiles from hearing the story of Christmas told once more, or tears from the Christmas family blessing lifting Jesus up.

Or how about giving prayers along with or in place of stuff? A beneficiary of prayer myself, I know my neighbors, friends, and family members will benefit far more from prayer gifts than any stuff I could give them. Indeed, there is great joy in prayers answered for the health and well-being of friends and family…Tom, Jamie, Roger, Sid, Bob, Jan, Sharon, and babies Sawyer, Isaac, Owen, and Daisy to name a few. His angels have been so busy.

Or how about giving stuff and prayers as acts of charity? There are those who truly need stuff to survive as well prayers for a better future, e.g. the refugees and victims of disaster, war, poverty, and pestilence.
Hear's wishing you joy from the real stuff of Christmas this year. I also pray our Lord of mercy and love will send His guardian angels to protect, comfort, and heal you. Merry Christmas. 
Crawford (crawfolk@gmail.com) is a syndicated columnist from Meridian.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is this guy, Crawford, a leftist or just a Grump? Kingfish could have left off Crawford's name and let us assume that was written by just another Gannett liberal.

Anonymous said...

Bill, that is lovely.
I think it's wonderful that those who are Jewish and " pagan" embraced this Christian holiday season and still can. You forgot Hanukah,by the way.
It was " good politics" by Christians back then, wasn't it? It grew the number of believers to be inclusive rather than offensive as it allowed them to have faith which isn't real if coerced.
I have loved always that my Jewish and non-Christian friends would work for me so I could go to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day and have extra days for charity by combining vacation days.
I love that I exchange gifts with friends who are not church going Christians, but who are Jewish or agnostic or atheists or even Muslim and Hindu. Some of my Jewish friends have decorations and a tree.
Aside of the spewing of those with a political or personal agenda in the media, no one ever has once shown a bit of resentment when I wished them " Merry Christmas". My Muslim and Hindu and Jewish and atheists and agnostic friends actually have actually wished me " Merry Christmas" and to wish them " Happy Holidays" seemed a return of good will to me. I have never seen anyone mistreated while saying " Merry Christmas" or had anyone I've ever known in all my life tell me they have been mistreated.
If anyone had been ugly in response to a pleasant greeting, I'd still just assume that person was mentally ill and not take it personally.
That tidings of comfort and joy are shared by everyone during this season is something us Christians should rejoice. We shouldn't try to keep the tidings and joy to ourselves. We should rejoice that so many now believe in One God by any translation of that word, not gods.
I'll be praying that those who want to divide us rather to the point of missing the message of love given to Christians, don't succeed and that the message of "peace on earth, good will toward men" isn't lost forever.

Anonymous said...

Alternate opinion and post not welcome.

Anonymous said...

People may not have the same belief as you but common courtesy still works. Why would any person, no matter what their beliefs might be, intentionally make another person feel bad when they think they are doing good? You do not have to believe the same as the other person to wish they have a good and happy holiday.
People try so hard to be different from other people. We really are not that different. We all believe in something. Even those who have no religion have a belief in themselves. You do not have to believe in some certain religion to be a good person.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).


Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.


In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.


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Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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