aggieI don’t know when the panic set in. Maybe it was the pure sugar rush (or high) of the 16 Krispy Kreme donuts flooding my system that inebriated my judgment and sense of timing. But when I noticed it, I just thought my heart rate was speeding. My calm cool collective self was thrown into a whirlwind of emotion. Nowhere, I mean NOWHERE did I find those magical words that I so enjoy hearing this time of year, “Merry Christmas”. My gleeful green box was void of the words. I was shocked, appalled, flabbergasted, floored and didn’t know what to do. Should I take back my remaining 19 and 3/4 uneaten donuts in protest? Should I, with a magic marker, write my own holiday greeting? Oh I know, I can post a pontified (my word) protest on Facebook and Twitter and see how many “Likes” and “Retweets” I get. As my printed green tree donut box lid slowly lowered, my exasperated emotions soared (or was that the sugar again). How was I to recover? I sat down my red Starbucks cup and pondered. Then it hit me.

Wait!!!! Before I lower the lid on my Krispy Kreme love and stick it to Starbucks, maybe I should consider something. And, since you’ve decided to allow me to have a few moments of your time, maybe you could consider the same. So with all the stink Starbucks has received and the endless posts and reposts of those stores who are only wishing their customers, “Happy Holidays”, I think I’ve decided to look at all this just a little differently. I begin it with a question. Why do we even have the holidays in which we find ourselves? Yes, I know Thanksgiving is a National holiday written into “law” years ago as a holiday but we all know it’s roots, pilgrims and Indians meeting together to give thanks to the big boy upstairs. And Christmas… because that same big boy upstairs decided we needed an out so he sent us his son to be born on Christmas Eve.

Maybe I’m simplifying it too much. But then again, I relish in simplifying things about Him upstairs. Here’s how I’m beginning to see it. See, we wouldn’t even have the holidays if it was not for him. Nope, no Thanksgiving, no Macy’s parade, no Christmas movies (and I’ll see my share this year), no Christmas music (I’ll listen to plenty), no Black Friday sales, no nada! And certainly no red cups or green Christmas trees on the lid of my Krispy Kreme boxes!!! So instead of making a stink about the absence of a snowflake on a red paper cup, maybe we should be excited that the cup is red at all. Are you beginning to follow me? Even if it’s a small miniscule acknowledgment of Christmas, it is an acknowledgement that some 2015 years ago a little boy was born in a feed trough and that birth has changed the world!

So say, “Happy Holidays” to me but know that I’m going to smile in your acknowledgment and reply, “Merry Christmas”. And therein lies the assignment within this blog. From now till Christmas morning, each time you hear, “Happy Holidays” or see any absence of the baby Jesus in anything Christmas related, don’t frown in frustration. Rather smile with a sublime sense of joy as they recognize the birth of Jesus so long ago is a big deal!

Final assignment and closing words. Never in my wildest imagination would I find myself answering the question, “Are we still having the Christmas Eve at the Hardware Store”? I’m so glad to say, “You bet!” And so it will be this Christmas Eve at 2:00 pm in the Barn at Eagle Hardware or Annual Christmas Eve at the Hardware Store! Make plans to join us that afternoon as hundreds of your neighbors meet to celebrate a traditional Christmas Eve service in a non-traditional setting. Hope to see you there.

Merry Christmas!