The Spirit of Christmas

Every year I struggle to feel that magic of "Christmas" it's very easy to blame that emptiness on the horrid desert.  (Serious, no snow … not even cool enough to daydream about turning on the heater.) 

but this helped.

and this:

I need to share, that Christ really is the purpose of Christmas, the "Holiday" Season, and everything in life that actually matters.  It's why we give gifts, to remember the gift freely given that was more than all.

Then and Now

Today, isn't yesterday, and yesterday is most definitely not tomorrow.

You know, not too long ago, if I were trying to get somewhere specific, I had to plan ahead, print maps, buy maps, and even occasionally ask for directions.  Now I don't do that.  I have a device on me that has every map in the world, and instantly gives directions (even if I take a side street) to tell me how to get around.  From the eyes of the past that's pretty hard to believe.

There was a time I was moving from one end of the country to the next, it was a little caravan with me in the moving truck and the car following not too far behind.  In order to keep in touch and keep from getting too far away from each other we had walkie talkies.  Now I have a phone, and even my son can text me from the back seat if he doesn't feel like he's getting through clearly.

Then, we had to talk on the phone, now it's very rare to have a conversation on the phone.

In order to do Christmas shopping… I once had to leave the house.  Or worse. Order it in a magazine.  It's hard to imagine that if you wanted something 'special' you once had to find the company that sold special things, ask for a catalog, wait for it to arrive, then send a check through the mail to get whatever it was that you couldn't find in stores.  I had ordered a specialty magazine to look at knives for sale, every quarter when it arrived I'd moon over it for days and daydream about buying one.  When we went on vacation I'd keep my eyes open for specialty shops that would have such things on display.  Now, I can look online instantaneously … at any time, and if I want to buy something it arrives within two days.  Which makes it difficult to be motivated to look at specialty stores when I go on vacation… and totally avoid regular shopping when there's an online alternative.

It's possible some of these changes are because I'm old, but it was REALLY not that long ago that I wasn't this old and that was then, and this that we have now was only the stuff of science fiction.  (can you imagine what the next Now will bring?)

Selfish Sense of Humor

"Hey Brother… I know why the dinosaurs went extinct.  You taught them all you know."

… … …

This was the point where I walked in.  One son looking smug at his joke, the other looking beaten.

"Wow."  I said, my tone calm and quiet.  The smug evaporating from the boys face, revealing a much less smug expression.

"Was that funny?"  I asked, not laughing.  "It sounded clever."  My expression still blank, the tone I aimed for was somewhere between expressionless, and disapproving. 

"I guess it wasn't that funny." The boy stammered.

"When you tell a joke like that, who is it funny to?" I asked.

From there the conversation illustrated that some jokes, like that, are only funny to the person telling the joke, or funny only to that person and those around him, but definitely not to the person being picked on.  With such highlights as:

"Is that the kind of humor you want to be known for?" "Do you like to be around people who have a sense of humor that attacks others?" "He didn't seem to laugh at it… is there a way you could have told him the 'clever' joke you came up with, where he would have appreciated it?" "Is that the kind of thing that builds someone up or breaks them down?" "Does that bring people closer to you, or push them away?" and "keep an eye out for jokes, some are only to amuse the person telling them, that's pretty selfish, and it sounds like that's not what you want to be like."

It was of course a dialog, not a lecture.  But it started out very much wanting to be (at the very least) a lecture.