Good morning, Netizens...
As many of you may remember, each year about this time I begin a mini-series of stories, fables, tales and commentary about what I perceive of the magic and true meaning of Christmas. Some of these stories date back to the 1980's, written originally for various publications while others simply appeared in Usenet news in a newsgroup I hosted called The Phoenix. This year is no exception, although given our national economy, the implications of poverty are more widespread than at anytime since the Great Depression.
I could cite the grim statistics of our national unemployment, the numbers of the homeless or the pain of watching entire families losing their homes in a horrific downward slide toward both, but despite all the sadness that surrounds us, it is still Christmas. It is a time of joy and magic, not necessarily what we have come to expect from watching our collective television sets. Despite what you have been led to believe, you do not have to have oodles of money in order to experience either the joy nor magic of the true sense of Christmas. All you need to contemplate is the original Christmas Story, how a tiny babe was laid in a manger lined with straw, that his family was as poor as church mice, yet he was heralded by angels and was destined to save the world.
More current, perhaps the link, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SXh7JR9oKVE speaks to the magic of the season far better than even I can. A flash mob is defined as “a large group of people who assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual and pointless act for a brief time, then quickly disperse.” This flash mob gathered in a public food court in a mall and suddenly began singing Handel's Hallelujah Chorus from the Messiah aloud. At first shoppers apparently did not know what to make of this development, but by the time the flash mob completed the chorus, as is customary, people who remembered the ancient custom, were standing, some even joining in the singing. People stopped eating, shopping and all commerce simply ground to a halt in the video. I submit this, too, is part of the magic of Christmas. Turn off the machine; turn on your heart.
However, I also admit a clear and distinct fondness for The Messiah, and know nearly all of it by heart. Thus on this note we begin my annual contributions to Christmas, at least as I believe it to be.