Tuesday, December 14, 2004

So this is Christmas?

Today truly marks the beginning of the road towards Christmas.

I say that for a wide variety of reasons. First, I wrapped up the majority of my Christmas shopping Saturday afternoon before celebrating a brother-in-law's birthday. With any luck, I will have a box of the right size by tonight to wrap up the present for my mom. I am also in the midst of choosing the present(s) for my wife which will be, as usual, a combination of Christmas and her birthday as they are only three days apart.
It also marks the true invocation of the Christmas feeling. The spirit, if you will. It can be found in many places. The Salvation Army bell ringers who are everywhere except in front of Target stores, local malls, and also absent from what seems to be the entire suburban mecca in which I live. It would seem a bit more festive with a thick coating of fluffy, white snow but we instead have temps forecasted to once again rise into the 40's with no snow in sight. We'll do without, though.

Plenty of others apparently are missing the meaning of the Christmas season as my father-in-law was fired from a job he has held for nearly 20 years. He was sent home early on Friday and told to call in on Monday. The voice at the other end of the phone said not to bother coming in, you're fired. I guess that's what some see as the meaning of Christmas. It's depressing that someone could be so cold-hearted to not even give a loyal, hard working employee of nearly 20 years service a second chance.

It seems to me that we are living in an increasingly unkind world. Personally, I wonder a bit each day if I will still have a job next week. I have absolutely nothing to fall back on. Our savings are gone, used long ago to pay various bills. We are no different from the majority of Americans. We fear for our jobs, live paycheck to paycheck and face a future where increasing expenses outpace the meager wage increases we receive too infrequently.

Some of us, though, still manage to muster some Christmas spirit. I searched a few hours last night for potential jobs for the father-in-law and the sister-in-law who has been unemployed for a couple of months now. I try to do my part. If I had money to spare, I would gladly drop it into a Salvation Army kettle if I could find one near where I live. I would gladly donate a few hours of my time, as I have in the past, to ring a Salvation Army bell. Instead of doing that, I go about my day to day life hoping each day that I will still have a job. Hoping that we don't, as a country, enter another war and thusly begin a draft. I hope that my family, friends and their families stay healthy and safe. I pray that Army Guy gets sent home instead of to Iraq. I hope that everyone has what they need to make it a happy holiday season.

Nobody that has been dealt a rotten hand in the past few months has deserved it. It seems that those who are in line for a dose of luck never truly receive it. They live their lives each day barely getting by and deserve better. They deserve what it takes to bring smiles to their faces.

I end with a wish that all who are well off this holiday season share some of their good fortunes with those who are down on their luck. It has truly hit close to home this year for us. I hope it stops before it gets worse. I hope people have a change of heart.

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