And a “partridge in a pear tree”

While I usually wait until Christmas Eve to do my Christmas shopping, when the crowds have finally cleared, ah huh; this year I started a little earlier on Saturday, when I thought the crowds would be a little less daunting. Wrong.

Costco, with aisles as wide as my driveway, enough room to hold about 20 football fields and plenty of snacks to keep up your energy. Working my way down each row of goodies from possible presents to Christmas food, I felt like I was in traffic on I-95 after someone got a flat tire and the river of vehicles slow to a stop to see how the tire change is going – should have gotten Michelins.

Bumper to bumper baskets, that’s what it was, and I was constantly clogging up the stream of push carts as I stopped to decide on slippers or a battery operated drill – for me of course.

After a basket full of goodies and enjoying a chat with at least one person I know and three that were willing to listen to me, I made my way to the check out. I must say that Costco did a good job of moving shoppers through the line and I spent less than $10,000. Hey, I was swept away by the Christmas spirit OK.

Off to Barnes and Noble. I like to give a book to each of my family members every year, but where did all the best sellers go? They have been consumed by the Nook. The electronic device from Fahrenheit 451 might have just burned them all. What a devious device. Jesus would not appreciate the Nook, the Kindle or the iPad. Not everyone can afford to read his story on a glowing screen.

So after avoiding the giant display for the Nook, I found that Barnes and Noble still has books, you know the kind that are made of paper and cardboard and smell so good when you open them, pushing your nose deep into the crease. Got it, a couple of self-help books for a few in the family, a gothic novel, Lincoln and Jefferson bios, age appropriate titles for the grandkids and a craft book or two and then off to Starbucks. Done, and I only have about 10 bruises to show for it.

And Christmas? I caught a distant “Here Comes Santa Clause” playing over the PA once. Ah, Christmas, the time of year of joy and good spirit when your neighbors fight in line to get the door buster 90-inch flat-screen-digital-WiFi-1080p-internet/capable-motionflow-backlight/LED and so thin… includes bonus surround sound and Red Rider BB gun.

One of the folks I met in Costco said why do we put ourselves through all of this; we don’t need all this stuff, we should just exchange checks.

We have lost the real meaning of Christmas. Jon Stewart of the Daily Show said, and I paraphrase: First there was Christmas, what a wonderful day; then we added Christmas Eve, makes sense; then the twelve days of Christmas; we pushed it way back almost to Thanksgiving with Black Friday and now we have Black Thursday – Thanksgiving.

A few pieces of trivia breaking down what the real meaning of Christmas has been over two millennium.

“Christmas is a compound word originating in the term “Christ’s Mass.” It is derived from the Middle English Cristemasse, a phrase first recorded in 1038,” according to the Catholic Encyclopedia.

“The Twelve Days of Christmas” celebrates the official Christmas season which starts on Christmas Day and ends twelve days later on the Feast of the Epiphany,”  (January 6) as written by Edward T. Dowling, author of “Have You Heard the Good News.”

He continues, writing that the song “Twelve Days of Christmas” was a code for Christians during the 15th century as the church went underground. The code implying “twelve lords a leaping” are the twelve basic beliefs of the Catholic Church as outlined in the Apostles Creed. The “eleven pipers piping” are the eleven Apostles who remained faithful after the treachery of Judas. The “ten ladies dancing” are the Ten Commandments. The “nine drummers drumming” are the nine choirs of angels which in those days of class distinction were thought important. The “eight maids a milking” are the Eight Beatitudes. The “seven swans a swimming” are the Seven Sacraments. The “six geese a laying” are the six days of creation. The “five golden rings” are the first five books of the Old Testament called the Torah which are generally considered the most sacred and important of all the Old Testament. The “four calling birds” are the Four Gospels. The “three French hens” are the Three Persons in God (Trinity) or the three gifts of the Wise Men. The “two turtle doves” represent the two natures in Jesus: human and divine or the two Testaments, Old and New. The “partridge” is the piece de resistance, Jesus himself, and the “pear tree” is the Cross.

Christmas through the ages has to do with the birth of Christ, and gift giving was about giving as charity. It has nothing to do with a 90-inch TV for dad, on which he can watch Redskins games.


Christmas Shopping Season

I like John Fugelsang's take on Christmas shopping: "Black Friday is when Christians buy material possessions for the birthday of a guy who renounced material possessions."

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