Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Holiday Display

The coming Christmas celebration gives me a moment to weigh in on one of the vexing issues of our day. The holiday display. We had one in Wenonah, in the park, on E. Mantua Ave, across from Margies. The Lion's Club erected it shortly after Thanksgiving and the display consisted of a creche (life size figures of Mary, Joseph, the Wisemen, and baby Jesus all 2 dimensional cutouts), several pine trees decorated with lights and carols piped through a sound system. There may have been Santa and some reindeer but I can't remember. I do remember baby Jesus.
It was cheesy and nice. It mostly had a place in our collective little hearts but as a sincere demonstration of the miracle of Christ's birth it might have been lacking. Not that I don't think piped in carols would have made the manger in that long ago Bethlehem a better place but really I would have preferred just reindeers and Santa and we could leave Jesus in church where he seemed to look a lot better.
Last year I visited Suzy Parker's folks in Townsend's Inlet after the 4th of July. Dewey, Suzy's dad, told us about one year, maybe three or four before my 5th grade celebration, when he was in charge of the music for the Lion's Club. He allowed a young woman whom he and his friends found attractive to pick the music for the display. She picked "Rockin Around the Christmas Tree".
Needless to say this did not go over well in little Wenonah. But listening to Dewey tell the story reminded me of how cool it used to be that just a dumb old rock and roll tune could set everybody into high dudgeon. We were blessed with our small town nincompoopery and it's crazy little battles.
I don't know that it matters whether Jesus is in the park on Christmas eve if he's made of colored pressboard. I do think it matters that he's in the hearts of people that profess to believe that's important. I believe that Christmas is a joyous holiday. The Druids, the Christians, the Jews, all of us knuckleheads shaking in the dark, lighting candles and singing songs. God Bless Us Everyone!


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