Presto, Instant Christmas!

Falling through the universe at the speed of life

By David Glenn Cox

As far as I’m concerned, December 20th is Christmas season, and to all you Christians out there, Happy Holidays! I’m up for festivous as much as anyone, with the traditional lighting of the yule log and getting lit myself on grandma’s old-fashioned Egg Nog recipe. (two shots of bourbon over ice) I just get infuriated by stores playing Christmas carols, while they’re still putting away the Halloween decorations. Even now, in retail outlets across America, stockrooms are filling with Valentine’s Day candy and displays. Ready to be set out on display just as soon as January 2nd  rolls around.

Meaning that by the time the holiday actually get’s here, we just want it to go away. By this time of year, you’ve heard “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” As performed on NPR, by the New York, Metropolitan Opera Company from their “Make it stop, my head hurts tour.” The old rule was no X-mass memorabilia until after Thanksgiving. Giving retailers six weeks to garble, mangle and invent a Christmas liturgy with no connection whatsoever with the religion in question.

And lo, and an angel spoke to him saying, “Dude, what are you doing?” I am but a lowly shepherd tending my flock. “Yeah, I know. That’s what I wanted to talk to you about. Have you noticed that you’re all alone out here? The only shepherd for as far as the eye can see. Has it crossed your mind why that is son? That’s because, and I really shouldn’t tell you this, but the Earth is round and tilted. That means it is wintertime in this part of the world, so there will be no green grass or high tides for your sheep.”

That’s it? That’s your message. Go to town and get out of the cold? No message about the birth Kings or lights up in sky? I love stories about new Kings. We have so many of them in our world. Big puffed-up king and then once you cross the river, then there is another one. Walk down the road twenty miles or so, and there is another one. So, the birth of a new King was big doings, but only for those involved in the trade. The only folks worried about a new King was the old King, for obvious reasons.

These kings were concerned about the presence of a newbie and possible rival, asked their Astrologer to explain these wondrous events up in the heavens. So, he did, giving a precise description for what had occurred down the address of the newborn child. Not bad, if you ask me. I’d say he or she nailed that prophecy on the head. I’d buy stocks from an Astrologer, like that! Funny, Astrology can forecast the birth of Kings, but must then leave the Bible immediately as Astrology is the work of the devil.

Now imagine you file in for church one Christmas morning, and some crazy son of a bitch has cut down a tree and put it up on the altar! Like Richard Dreyfuss in “Close Encounters” this means something! To German and Scandinavians, the oak was the tree of Thor. An Evergreen tree sprouted in the stump of an oak, and the Evergreen became the tree of Jesus. On the American prairie in the old west, that symbolism was sometimes lost in the discussions about finding a new minister. But by a close vote and long explanation, the tree and the minster were maintained.

The Reverend was then sanctioned and cautioned against making any further holiday decorating stunts without prior approval of the Deacons. So, consider the Easter Egg idea and Maypole dance withdrawn!

From “A Christmas Carol” to “ It’s A Wonderful Life”  to “Bad Santa.” More Capitalism please! Look, all you have to do is delete the meaning and substitute a few fart jokes. And it’s a new Christmas classic! A laff riot! Just wait till they see the septic tank explosion! Just dust off that Andrew Dice Clay script, put him in a red suit and throw in some trees and some snow and shit. Presto, instant Christmas!

Instead of Christmas movies, it’s becomes guess what happened to me at Christmas? I fell in love. I reconciled with my family, and everyone was generous and loving, and then on Christmas Eve, it began to snow the end. National Lampoon’s “Christmas Vacation.” The story of a wealthy man worried that he might not get his Christmas bonus. Because he’s already spent the money! He daydreams about buying a luxury item with the money he hasn’t received yet! I know, it’s just satire and first two or three hundred times I saw the film it was funny. Like the Christmas carols, it’s just worn down to the quick.

It’s only funny once but can be still  meaningful a hundred times. Christmas is like a wave with its strongest effects on the young and the old. The young through anticipation and the old through moments of reflection of where we are now. What we’ve gained and lost. The bicycles and the wagons that we’ve put together halfway into the night long ago. Then awake at five thirty in the morning, for a two-hundred-mile drive to grandma’s house. And yet, we remember them fondly. We remember the tiredness and financial strain in the abstract and treasure the memory as a rare gift.

The Christmases receiving wagons and big wheels at Christmas were nothing, when compared to giving them. Suddenly, the kids aren’t cute anymore. But mature and distant and eons away from the little kid once excited by the moon or taking his first ride on his new bicycle or jumping on a pogo stick.

Just a minute… just a minute. Now, hold on, Mr. Potter. You’re right when you say my father was no businessman. I know that. Why he ever started this cheap, penny-ante Building and Loan, I’ll never know. But neither you nor anyone else can say anything against his character, because his whole life was… why, in the 25 years since he and his brother, Uncle Billy, started this thing, he never once thought of himself. Isn’t that right, Uncle Billy? He didn’t save enough money to send Harry away to college, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter, and what’s wrong with that? Why… here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You… you said… what’d you say a minute ago? They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait? Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken down that they… Do you know how long it takes a working man to save $5,000? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about… they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him. But to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well in my book, my father died a much richer man than you’ll ever be! – George Baily

2 Thoughts

  1. It’s A Wonderful Life , is the best XMAS movie to me! While I was scrolling , & saw George Bailey. So I read it twice. I wasn’t sure if you liked the movie also , because you ended with his quote to Potter?


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