Monday, December 5, 2011

A vote for Team Christmas

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It has been said that the world is divided into two kinds of people.
One wag opined: “Yeah, the kinds who try to divide the world into two kinds of people and the kinds who know better.”
Normally, I’d agree, but the lines of demarcation seem to be very sharply drawn when it comes to the holidays.
There is Team Grinch-Scrooge.
And then there’s Team FTC (Full-Tilt Christmas).
That’s my team. I love this time of year. That this love has lasted through a long lifetime, I believe, can only be attributed to an appreciation of the real meaning of Christmas.
It’s a story of hope and promise, of faith and love and spiritual triumph.
Still, those of us who go to the original text know that the original Christmas story is not a tale of easy times. Jesus was born in an occupied land with corrupt rulers. Generations of the devout had prayed for a savior with a faith so fierce that speculation about fulfillment of their prayers struck fear in the heart of a mighty empire that dominated much of the world. King Herod ordered the brutal slaying of a generation of helpless babies and toddlers on what today we would term an unverified, speculative rumor.
Conditions were so oppressive that Mary and Joseph were denied the rudimentary comforts of a birth in their own home. Even very pregnant women were not exempt from bureaucratic regulations that forced a hard journey to Bethlehem, where, as we all know now, the child embraced as the savior of billions, was, at least temporarily, homeless, left to be born in what amounts to a hay-filled shed, among farm animals.
Those are parts of the story that are not emphasized much these days, but I always remember those aspects when I think about the homeless, the depressed, the needy and the oppressed.
And I wonder about the true inspiration for our generosity during this season. Was all this gift-giving really inspired by the presents of three enlightened Wise Men?
Or could some group consciousness be pondering a contemporary savior, a Second Coming? Could this era’s Savior be homeless, in a brutal oppressive land, a child who is just a heartbeat — a gunshot, a landmine step, a pogrom, an ethnic cleansing, a preventable disease — away from reaching toddlerhood?
Maybe the dark sides of the original story are manifested in the things I don’t like about this season: the Black Friday/Cyber Monday obsessive acquisitiveness, the arrogance and greed, the pressure to complete a zillion little meaningless tasks, the Yule-zillas who care more about status and lavish impressions than true substance.
But I love the lights and the camaraderie, the songs and the sharing, the efforts to bring beauty to a barren winter landscape, the creative ways we can devise to show how much we love and care about one another.
I think we veterans on Team FTC always find ways to dial back the darkness and focus on what really matters.
Christmas is a story of miracles and soul survival, of new beginnings, of promises that we know, from the rest of the story, can be spectacularly fulfilled.
One divine spark, prayed forth, carefully protected and lovingly nurtured, can change lives — can change the world.
It’s the season of prayers and miracles. A season that eventually transformed even Scrooge and the Grinch.
And whatever team you’re on, it’s never too late to ponder that story of miraculous new beginnings. Whoever you are, wherever you live, the life you change could be your own this year.
Have a merry, milago Christmas.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style.

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